If you’ve been holding off on doing your yard work, this weekend will be your best chance to take care of it — unless you like to work in the rain.
An atmospheric river of tropical moisture is forecast to bear down next week on the West Coast starting Tuesday and intensifying through Thursday, bringing heavy rain, high winds, and in Fresno, high temperatures in the lower 70s, said Emily Wilson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Hanford.
Snow also will be falling at higher elevations in the Sierra starting above 8,500 feet and dropping to 7,500 feet, Wilson said.
The moisture-laden storm is coming out of the tropical Pacific, which explains the warmer-than-usual temperatures forecast for Monday and Tuesday that could potentially tie the record highs set for those days of 73 in 1960 and 74 in 1984.
Interior California should brace for higher winds as well as moisture, and coastal erosion could occur due to heavy rainfall.
A Pacific jet extension will roar across the Pacific to begin February, bringing the potential for a significant atmospheric river event for California and the West Coast.
A classic El Niño pattern. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/zmWsur9bI4
— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) January 23, 2024
Slightly Above Average Rainfall So Far in 2024
As of Wednesday morning Fresno’s rainfall total since the start of 2024 was 1.78 inches, just slightly higher than the average of 1.71 inches, Wilson said. That doesn’t include the 1.03 inches that fell over three hours Wednesday morning at the Fresno airport, she said.
For the annual rain season, Fresno is more than 2 inches drier than normal thus far, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.
Rainfall in next week’s atmospheric river storm could total at least 1 inch across the Valley by next Thursday, Wilson said.
As for the long-term forecast, at this point February is shaping up to be a wet month, she said.
— NWS Climate Prediction Center (@NWSCPC) January 23, 2024