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Weather experts say dangerous storm could hit Sacramento by midweek

This NOAA satellite image taken Monday shows that massive storm front in the northern Pacific Ocean bearing down on the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. Experts predict heavy precipitation and winds will scour and soak the region beginning Wednesday.
This NOAA satellite image taken Monday shows that massive storm front in the northern Pacific Ocean bearing down on the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. Experts predict heavy precipitation and winds will scour and soak the region beginning Wednesday. Associated Press

The rains won’t start in earnest until Wednesday night, but forecasters on Sunday were already warning Northern Californians to watch out for what an incoming storm may bring.

Flash floods, mudslides, power outages, slick roads, fallen trees, overflowing rivers and streams – these are just a sample of what is likely in store, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm, which forecasters say could be the heaviest Northern California has seen in several years, will begin Wednesday and stretch through Friday. It is expected to douse the Sacramento region with up to 5 inches of rain and bring up to 2 feet of snow to the mountains.

High temperatures in the mid-60s in the Sacramento area will continue into Monday, which was expected to begin with dense fog hanging over the region. A light drizzle could hit north of Interstate 80, the Weather Service predicted, but no substantial precipitation is expected until midweek.

When the storm hits, though, it will hit hard. Heavy, sustained winds from 25 to 40 mph will be punctuated by gusts up to 60 mph in the Sacramento Valley. Overnight low temperatures will dip into the 40s.

“There’s a plethora of concerns we have for the upcoming week,” NWS forecaster Brooke Bingaman said, cautioning people who live near rivers and creeks to beware of flooding and advising people to firmly tie down or bring in any outdoor decorations.

Flash floods are possible due to heavy downpours, as are mudslides – especially along wildfire burn scars.

“Everyone is going to need to be a little more careful out there,” Bingaman said.

Bingaman warned drivers to be wary of slippery roads and extreme traffic conditions. If moving water runs onto a roadway, she said, do not try to drive through it.

“People think it’s not going to be a big concern, because it doesn’t look like much water,” she said. “But it doesn’t take much moving water to actually sweep a car downstream.”

With power outages possible, the Weather Service advised residents to have a storm kit ready, complete with blankets, water, flashlights and batteries.

▪ See the five-day forecast here.

Call The Bee’s Marissa Lang at (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter at @Marissa_Jae.

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