Rain drops fall in South Berkeley on Jan. 10, 2023. Credit: Kelly Sullivan

Brace yourself, Berkeleyans, for yet another rainy spell. 

Two storms are forecast in the coming days. The first, a typical winter storm coming from the gulf of Alaska, is expected to bring light rain showers — less than a half inch — beginning Saturday night and lasting through Monday. The second, an atmospheric river aimed at the California coast, is forecast to deliver between 0.6 and 1 inches of rain from the tropics to Berkeley and will arrive Monday evening and stay through Wednesday morning.

The Bay Area has experienced more than 11 atmospheric river events since Dec. 26.

With soils still saturated from previous storms, new rain can run off into streets and creeks and cause nuisance flooding, according to the National Weather Service. Landslide risks remain elevated when soil is sodden. The NWS has not issued a flood watch for the atmospheric river because the heavier focus of rain is currently aimed toward Southern and Central California.

It’ll be breezy in Berkeley, but wind speeds are not expected to be anywhere near as high as Tuesday’s storm, which toppled trees and brought down power for thousands of Berkeley residents

The impressive amount of rain we’ve seen this winter — nearly 34 inches since October, according to a West Berkeley rain gauge — has refilled the East Bay’s reservoirs and turned our often brown state a lush green and white. The Bay Area is no longer in drought, according to a March 16 update from the U.S. drought monitor. 

While Berkeley doesn’t have an official NWS observation site, its Oakland Airport gauge has measured 27.04 inches of rain during the current water year, which goes from October through September — making it the sixth wettest water year to date recorded at that location. The site usually receives 15.18 inches of rain by March 16. 

And it’s not over yet: The NWS’ climate prediction center estimates that the rainy weather and cold temps will continue through the end of the March.

Preparing for storms

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. 

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Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner...