SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A strong, wind-packed spring storm has the potential to flood a river in the Sierra Nevada and soak the San Francisco Bay Area, forecasters said.
National Weather Service forecaster Idamis Del Valle said the storm will reach the area late Thursday and the heaviest rain is expected on Friday.
The region could see more rain on Saturday, Del Valle said.
The Feather River could flood the Sierra Nevada town of Portola, which is near the Nevada state line, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
The storm could bring 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.2 meters) of snow to the Sierra’s higher elevations, an unusual amount for April. Forecasters say it will be the biggest storm the Sierra has seen in April in a decade.
Electronic monitors last week showed the Sierra’s snowpack was at 164 percent of normal. It was the most dense springtime snowpack since 2011, a year followed by five years of harsh drought.
San Francisco and Oakland can expect 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 centimeters) of rain, which Monterey National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson says is normal for this time of year.
Record-breaking rain in recent months has put a major dent in the state’s five-year drought but also led rivers and creeks to break their banks and wreaked havoc on the state’s infrastructure.
In February, storms led to an emergency evacuation of thousands of people downstream from Oroville Dam, where the main spillway broke apart and an emergency spillway eroded.