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More rain and snow bound for California as back-to-back atmospheric rivers approach

Members of the California Army National Guard Joint Task Force Rattlesnake shovel snow from a rooftop after a series of winter storms dropped more than 100 inches of snow in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California on March 8, 2023 in Crestline, California.
Mario Tama
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Members of the California Army National Guard Joint Task Force Rattlesnake shovel snow from a rooftop after a series of winter storms dropped more than 100 inches of snow in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California on March 8, 2023 in Crestline, California.

Another set of storms is expected to hit California in the coming days and over the weekend, continuing the state's spate of recent extreme weather since the beginning of the year.

Starting Thursday, forecasters say back-to-back "atmospheric rivers" — a plume of tropical moisture that dumps huge amounts of rain — will bring heavy precipitation across Central and Northern California, while also dumping snow in higher elevations in the state, forecasters say.

The National Weather Service says a few warm thunderstorms will be possible Thursday night and early Friday, which will then be followed by a cold front.

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Forecasters say up to 3.5 inches of rain is expected across the valley and up to 8.5 inches is expected in the foothills and mountains starting Thursday and moving through the weekend.

Heavy flooding is a concern as rain may cause increase runoff from the snowpack, they say. "A Flood Watch remains in effect for elections below 4,000 feet for Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. Rockslides and local mudslides are possible in susceptible areas."

There is also a potential danger for avalanches in places above 5,000 feet.

The second storm is expected to move in on Monday.

Officials are urging residents to prepare by gathering emergency supplies to keep in their homes, charge all devices that rely on electricity and to pack go-bags in preparation for potential evacuations. Residents in counties expected to get a lot of flooding — such as Monterey and Marin counties — are being told to sandbag their properties.

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These expected storms are just the latest in a year of wild weather in California.

In January, three weeks of atmospheric rivers wreaked havoc across the state. More than 32 trillion gallons of water were dumped on the state, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Meanwhile, more a than 40,000 Californians in counties between San Francisco and Los Angeles were given evacuation orders and hundreds of thousands were left without power.

February then brought storms that caused heavy flooding in Los Angeles County and blizzard conditions in the mountains.

And just last week, 13 counties were put under a state of emergency with winter storms left parts of Southern California under as much as 10 feet of snow.

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