Our next Atmospheric River fueled storm arrives today, with a chance of showers this morning, then clearing midday as the clouds are blow back by gusty and dangerous desert winds. 

A High Wind Warning is in effect for our mountain locations with a Wind Advisory for the Valley. We are expecting high winds in the San Emigdio and Tehachapi Mountains with sustained winds reaching 40 to 50 mph and gusts approaching potentially 80-95 mph. Combined with low visibility, treacherous travel is a concern at the Grapevine/Tejon Pass. A High Wind Warning has been issued for this part of the forecast area between 400 am Wed and 400 am Thu. In addition, increased downslope winds are expected along the West Side Hills and in the south end of the San Joaquin Valley with sustained winds reaching 20 to 30 mph and gusts approaching 55 mph. Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines, and can blow around unsecured objects. Widespread power outages are expected. Travel will be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. People should avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches. If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows. Use caution if you must drive. Secure outdoor objects.

As the cold front approaches tonight into Thursday morning, it will bring moderate to heavy precipitation and high elevation snowfall. A Flood Watch is in effect for the entire region except the Kern County Deserts and the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada from 400 am Wednesday until 400 am Friday. With the anticipated rainfall from the incoming system combined with saturated soil from previous rainstorms, this could lead to another round of widespread nuisance flooding and the potential for rock slides. Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Area creeks and streams are running high and could flood with more heavy rain.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada. The forecast include 6 to 18 inches of new snow above 5000 feet and 2 to 4 feet of new snowfall above 7000 feet.

Another concern with this system is that with post-frontal unstable airmass over central CA on Thursday afternoon, thunderstorms will be possible across the San Joaquin Valley, West Side Hills and Sierra Nevada foothills. The Storm Prediction

Center is showing a marginal risk of severe thunderstorms in the western half of the San Joaquin Valley and over the West Side Hills by Thursday afternoon.

A lull in activity is expected for Friday before an approaching low pressure system affects our region on Saturday. This storm system is expected to be drastically weaker, but still looks to bring measurable rain to Kern County.

Afterward, a potentially strong storm system will have to be monitored closely for potential impacts across our area next Monday and Tuesday. The Climate Prediction Center continues to show chances of above average precipitation across the entire state of California 6 to 10 days out. This combined with heavy Sierra Nevada snowfall will lead to a dramatically wet first half of January.