Sandbags and materials are available for San Benito County residents at the City of Hollister public works yard on South Street (pictured) and other locations in the county. Photo: Chris Mora

The rain-weary Central Coast and Bay Area are being asked, again, to prepare for another round of soaking storms this week, as another atmospheric river system is expected to drench the region. 

According to the National Weather Service, the atmospheric river is forecast to make landfall early Thursday, March 9. 

“Initially, light rain will develop along the coast generally after sunrise as a warm front moves over the region ahead,” reads a March 7 post on the National Weather Service website. “By the afternoon and early (Thursday) evening, precipitation will increase in coverage and intensity as the (atmospheric river) takes aim at the central California coast. Instability will also increase during this time, resulting in a 15-30% probability of thunderstorms. 

“Additionally, southerly winds will increase ahead of and along the main boundary with wind gusts of 40-50 mph across most lower elevations with 50-60 mph possible near the coast and in the coastal ranges, peaks and favored coastal gaps,” the NWS site continues. “Moderate to at times heavy rainfall will continue through Thursday night and into Friday morning as moist zonal flow advects moisture inland across the entire region.”

The rainfall will likely be heavily concentrated in the coastal ranges and North Bay mountains, which could see from 3 to 6 inches of rainfall during the atmospheric river, according to the NWS. Up to 8 inches of rain could fall in the Santa Cruz Mountains during the March 9-10 period. 

Rainfall amounts could add up to between 2-4 inches in the inland hills, with valley floors and urban areas picking up between 1-3 inches of rain, according to the NWS. 

The NWS cautions that wind gusts could result in downed trees and broken limbs, electricity outages and blocked roadways. Local flooding is likely in some areas, and “(rapid) rises on creeks and streams are also expected through late week with rises of the mainstem rivers…also expected,” says the NWS website. 

Mudslides are also a potential safety threat due to the incoming storm, according to the NWS. 

Rainfall is expected to persist through Saturday and Sunday, yet at a much lighter volume. 

Residents and property owners in San Benito County can prepare for the expected downpour by stocking up on sandbags at public locations. Piles of sand and burlap bags are available for locals to help themselves at the following locations: Hollister Airport, 60 Airport Drive; Hollister Fire Station 2, 1000 Union Road; Hollister Public Works Yard, 1321 South Street; County Yard, 3220 Southside Road; San Juan Bautista City Yard, Jefferson and First streets in San Juan Bautista; and Aromas Tri-County Fire Protection District, 492 Carpenteria Road in Aromas. 

Supplies at these locations will be available on a first come, first served basis. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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