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Battered central California braces for next storm starting Monday

Flooding continued along several central California rivers on Saturday after this week’s devastating storm, but emergency response officials are increasingly optimistic the worst may be over by now.

A new storm forecast for early next week was trending south, away from the Central Valley and coastal areas that saw severe flooding from the Atmospheric River 11 that swept through the state this rainy season. A weaker, cooler storm will bring lighter, more consistent snow and rain to Southern California.

Up to 2 feet of snow is forecast for communities in the San Bernardino Mountains. Colder temperatures should bring the snow level below 4,000 feet, reducing the likelihood of flooding from rain melt runoff.

This month’s historic snowfall stranded dozens of people and damaged buildings in the San Bernardino Mountains and was considered a factor in 13 deaths.

“We’re not seeing flash flooding,” said Samantha Connolly, a meteorologist with the San Diego station of the National Weather Service, which covers San Bernardino County. “Minor flooding could occur at low water crossings.”

Southern California coastal and valley communities can expect “significant and long-lasting, but light to moderate” rain showers Monday night through Wednesday, Los Angeles-Oxnard Station meteorologist Rose Schoenfeld said. of the National Weather Service.

The noon forecast Saturday called for 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches on the plains and up to 5 inches on the foothills and mountains, Schoenfeld said. The maximum precipitation should not be more than a half inch per hour.

Snowfall as low as 5,500 is expected Monday, dipping to below 4,000 feet Wednesday with up to 3 feet falling on the highest peaks and 3 to 4 inches on the Grapevine.

The southward shift is taking pressure off the central part of the state, where flooding from recent storms caused severe damage and destroyed thousands of lives.

In the southern San Joaquin Valley, the raging Tule River washed away homes in the foothills community of Springville.

A levee failure on the Pajaro River in Monterey County triggered flooding and prompted hundreds of evacuations. Authorities performed 60 rescues.

“It looks like we’ll have a break on Monday,” said meteorologist Cory Mueller at the Sacramento station of the National Weather Service. “We don’t expect big problems with flooding. Mountain travel problems will be our biggest impact. Winter driving conditions can be expected for long stretches of road in the mountains.”

Minor flooding occurred on several northern rivers Saturday and was subsiding in most cases.

The National Weather Service issued a warning Saturday that the Merced River had flooded its banks at Stevinson, about 20 miles west of Merced, reaching a maintenance building in a city park. The river was expected to continue to rise through Sunday night, surpassing the previous crest of the river by more than a foot.

The Salinas River was reported to be receding Saturday after flooding farmland near Spreckels, just south of Salinas. The river was expected to drop below flood stage on Saturday afternoon.

Flooding of the San Joaquin River near Vernalis, southeast of Tracy, was expected to continue Saturday, but fell short of the historic level set in 1986.

“We can still expect rain with this next system,” said Sarah McCorkle, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Monterey. “We have rain tonight, a fast moving cold front.”

But, he said, “That seeks not to impact Monterey as much. We have seen rainfall totals decrease.”