After a rainy stretch that’s dumped more than 3 inches on Berkeley since Thursday, the city is due for yet another atmospheric river early this week.
The storm is forecast to start Monday afternoon or evening and bring 1.3 inches of heavy rain by Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service, with powerful wind gusts of up to 50 mph possible. The hardest rain is expected to start falling after midnight Monday.
A flood watch and a high wind warning are in effect in the Bay Area starting Monday night through Wednesday morning. Soil moisture levels remain high after last weekend’s rain, heightening flood and landslide risks.
High winds can topple trees and power lines, and people should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches, the NWS said. Widespread power outages are anticipated.
Like the rain over the weekend, this is a “Pineapple Express” storm coming from Hawaii. Tropical storms are warmer than those coming from Canada, so there won’t be any snow on Grizzly Peak this time around. Anticipate overnight lows in the mid-40s.
“We just have a lot of moisture feeding in from the subtropics to the southwest of California and pointed at the California coast,” said Warren Blier, a NWS meteorologist. “This Pacific storm system will act to concentrate that moisture and enhance the rainfall that comes out of it.”
Imagine a blot of ink (the storm system) being swirled around and pulled into a kitchen drain when you turn on the sink (the atmospheric river). That’s what the storm looks like from above, Blier said.
Berkeley doesn’t have an official NWS observation site, but its downtown Oakland gauge has measured more than 32 inches of rain during the current water year, which goes from October through September. By comparison, the site usually gets 18.34 inches of rain by March 13.
Berkeley will likely get a sunny reprieve Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, but it likely won’t last: Light rain is forecast for Friday, and the wet pattern is expected to continue through next week.
Berkeley recommends residents protect their homes and businesses from flooding by clearing storm drains, cleaning gutters and downspouts. Residents can pick up five free sandbags from the city’s corporation yard at 1326 Allston Way.
Residents and businesses can call 311 (or 510-981-2489 after hours) to report storm-related issues “such as a clogged drain, culvert, inlet, or creek; a fallen tree or major limb; a malfunctioning traffic signal; or flooding that enters a travel lane.” If there’s a public works emergency, such as a toxic spill or sewer overflow, you can call 510-981-6620.
If you encounter a flooded road while driving, you’re advised to “turn around, don’t drown.”
The city operates an emergency shelter at the North Berkeley Senior Center (1901 Hearst Ave.), open when temperatures drop below 45 degrees or when there is a more than 50% chance of precipitation.