It seems like it’s been forever since Northern California received a significant storm and this week will remind everyone what a rainy winter looks like. But following years of on-again-off-again drought, you won’t see many people ecstatic over the coming precipitation since it’s exactly what officials have been fearing for months.
With devastating wildfires burning over a million acres in NorCal this summer, rain storms bring with it the possibility of flash floods in the burned areas. The areas of the Carr, Ferguson, Delta and Mendocino Complex Fires have been thoroughly prepped for this situation, but the brand new scarred area of the Camp Fire may have difficulty withstanding the upcoming rain.
Flash Flood Watch for the burn scars is in effect Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect Wednesday Afternoon and Wednesday night above 6500 ft.
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) November 20, 2018
So, as you can imagine, the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch from Wednesday through Friday for the Camp Fire area.
Of course, the rain should do its part to end the seemingly endless wildfire season that has destroyed many communities in our area, but a precipitous winter could bring more devastation to those very areas. Ash, mud and debris flows are now concerning officials, with makeshift barriers being placed in burned areas.
The rain is expected to descend into NorCal on Tuesday night and last nearly four days. Snow is expected in elevations higher than 6,500 feet. Up to six inches of rain is expected in areas of NorCal.
The conflicted news of rain is met with worry and elation. The wet weather should essentially put an end to the Camp Fire still burning in Butte County and significantly clear the smoky air quality that residents have been choking on for over a week. But the rain will also bring debris flows and dangerous driving conditions, with the first precipitation of the year exposing the oils on roads.
It’s been a frightening wildfire season, one that has brought the eyes of the world squarely on small communities of NorCal devastated by its flames. Let’s hope that this first rain brings only positive results and we can begin to heal in the winter.
Here are the NorCal forecasts for the week: