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Two more atmospheric rivers could hit West Coast in next week, per preliminary forecasts

California coast expected to receive an average of 2-6 inches of rain
A freeway marquee on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto advises the public to avoid travel due to a storm on Jan. 4, 2023. Photo by Jocelyn Dong.

As many as two more atmospheric rivers could douse the already sodden West Coast in the next week, according to weather experts with the state's Department of Water Resources.

At least one more storm system and potentially two are likely to cross over California between March 19 and 22.

According to state Climatologist Michael Anderson, most of Northern California and virtually the entire coast of the state are likely to receive an average of between 2 and 6 inches of rain by early next week.

"Fortunately there's ... a few days in between, but that's pretty significant," Anderson said Monday during a briefing on the state's weather forecast. "Two storms to hit within a seven-day period. And so we will see some impacts associated with the fact that we're still moving water from the first (storm) through the system while that second event comes ashore."

Anderson did note that the exact timing and magnitude of the storms is not certain yet, and the state may only see one storm system between the Bay Area and San Diego over the next week.

According to DWR officials, 13 rivers across the state were expected to flood due to this week's storm while the state plans to monitor another 32 for potential flooding.

Monterey County was the only county in the Bay Area that was expected to be especially susceptible to flooding, according to the DWR.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office issued an evacuation warning Tuesday for residents in the areas surrounding the Carmel River.

Meanwhile, residents in the Pajaro community have already dealt with flooding after the Pajaro River levee broke on Saturday morning, March 11. The 400-foot-wide gap in the levee could take a week to complete, according to Monterey County.

President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for the county last week, while Gov. Gavin Newsom has also declared a state of emergency in the county.

The storms that have pelted the West Coast over the last six weeks have replenished many of the state's largest waterways and storage facilities.

According to Molly White, the chief of water operations for the State Water Project, Lake Oroville is at roughly 75% of its total capacity, accounting for 116 percent of its historical average storage at this time of year.

A handful of the state's other reservoirs, including Lake Sonoma, the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County and Lake Don Pedro in Tuolumne County have surpassed 100% of their historical average storage levels for this time of year.

In addition to Monterey County, flood advisories remain in effect through the afternoon in the north bay, along the Peninsula and in Santa Cruz County.

Forecasters see light rain showers possibly beginning Friday and lasting through Sunday, perhaps turning a little heavier Monday, March 20, and lasting potentially through Thursday, March 23.

Up-to-date weather forecast information from the National Weather Service's San Francisco Bay Area office can be found at

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