Storm Watch: Historic Rain Pounds Northern California with Wettest Day in 165 Years

Although the storm is expected to pass through NorCal by the end of the day, officials are still on their heels with flooding concerns

The ‘Pineapple Express’ that cruised into Northern California on Thursday night gave Friday one of the rainiest days we’ve seen since 1853.

The warm rain pounded all areas of Northern California, with some areas of the mountains seeing up to a foot of snow. The storm is expected to pass through the area by the end of the day, depending where you’re located.

Here are some highlights from the massive storm:

Historic Rain

The rain totals for the 24 hour span on Friday, April 6 are historic. San Francisco saw its 2nd wettest day for April on record with 2.05 inches. The wettest day recorded in the city’s history is 3.45 inches on April 16th, 1853. Normal April monthly totals for the city is 1.46 inches.

Meanwhile, other towns across NorCal were pounded with rain, with an area near Legget on Highway 1 in Humboldt recording 4.52 inches. Paradise saw nearly 3 inches and Occidental in Sonoma County saw 5.92 inches, while Sacramento and Oroville both saw historic rain numbers for April 6th with 1.17 and 1.97 inches.

Here are some rain totals from around Northern California:

Prevalent Flooding

Flooding has taken shape in many forms during the storm, with rising rivers, flooded roadways and a lot of anxiety as the storm finishes up today. There is still a flood watch in place across most of NorCal, although not many reports of serious flooding have come to surface.

The Truckee and Merced Rivers are expected to reach Flood Stage this afternoon, which could spell trouble for anyone traveling nearby in Tahoe and Yosemite. The Navarro River in Mendocino County is expected to wash out Highway 128.

A pic of the river my mom took yesterday.

A post shared by ANNALISA🥇 (@anal.lisa) on

Oroville Dam on Watch

Officials wait anxiously as the storm finishes up in Oroville today. The town saw a record day of rain and the Feather River is now cranked to full flow to avoid using the brand new Oroville Dam spillway. But officials are prepared send water down the spillway if the lake floods.

“Right now we’re basing it on the most extreme versions of our forecast,” DWR spokeswoman Erin Mellon said. “We do anticipate it will be able to handle the flows.”

The lake only needs to rise about another feet for officials to deploy use of the spillway. They plan to use the spillway if the lake rises to 830 feet, where the lake floods over at 901 feet. This difference will allow the Department of Water Resources to release the water in a more controlled environment, hoping to avoid another catastrophe.

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Yosemite Closed

In anticipation of the storm, Yosemite National Park closed this weekend, cancelling all planned reservations and escorting visitors out of the park. With the imminent flooding of the Merced River and risk of mudslides and rockslides, park officials decided caution was the best strategy.

Forecasters call for the Merced River at Pohono Bridge to raise to 15 feet. The river floods at 10 feet. The park will reopen once the storm passes and park rangers deem the area safe.

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