Most powerful storm of winter season approaching: what to expect

SAN DIEGO — As one atmospheric river comes and goes, our attention turns to the next storm that is shaping up to be the most powerful one of the winter season so far.

San Diego County gets a break from the rain on Saturday but showers move back into the region from the north on Sunday afternoon.

The heaviest rain is forecasted for Monday as our next atmospheric river moves through. This is a much slower moving storm system, which is expected to bring widespread moderate to heavy rain.

Days of rain ahead for San Diego County, says National Weather Service

Light showers are expected Sunday afternoon, increasing in coverage and intensity by Monday morning. The highest risk for heavy rain is looking like Monday/Monday night.

The Storm Prediction Center has much of Southern California, including San Diego County, in a moderate risk of excessive rainfall and flash flooding for early next week. It means 9.1 million Californians have at least a 40% risk of rainfall reaching flash flooding guidance within 25 miles of a point.

In other words, there is high confidence that SoCal beaches will get too much rain all at once. Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties are expected to get extreme rainfall, but San Diego County is still in the line of fire.

Here are the estimated rainfall totals through Tuesday for San Diego/Orange Counties:

— Coast/Valleys: 2 to 3 inches

— Mountains: 3 to 6 inches

— Deserts: 0.50 to 1 inch

By Tuesday, the moisture plume hangs out directly over San Diego but will be a bit weaker — still rain could stall over the region Tuesday onward.

A Flood Watch goes into effect for all of the county Sunday afternoon through at least Wednesday morning. Travel will be extremely messy all up and down the state this weekend, especially on Sunday.

There’s hopes for better model agreement over the weekend, so make sure to check back for updates as the storm approaches.

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