Weekend weather: Santa Cruz County braces for a wet New Year

A rainy day in downtown Santa Cruz on Oct. 20, 2021.
(Kevin Painchauld / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Rain will continue through the next few days, with a flood warning intact through 10 p.m. Saturday. New Year’s Day will see a break in the rain, but expect the wet weather to continue throughout next week.

Santa Cruzans celebrating New Year’s Eve should be prepared to get wet.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flood watch from 10 p.m. on Friday night to 10 p.m. on Saturday night, due to heavy rain expected to begin this evening. Local waterways like the San Lorenzo River and Soquel Creek could see rapid rises in their water levels.

That’s on top of an already rainy week thus far, with the wet weather that began on Thursday morning having delivered close to three inches of rain in Ben Lomond and Felton, nearly two inches in Davenport, and more than one inch in Boulder Creek, according to NWS meteorologist Rick Canepa.

Canepa said that it’s hard to say how this year’s rainfall compares to that of previous years, but that the precipitation we’re seeing is a positive sign for the area.

“It’s a good start, not just in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast, but across the West,” he said. “The mid-September rain we saw was a bit unusual, too, but a good thing to see in the middle of what could have been a bad fire season.”

According to data from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS), the City of Santa Cruz has seen 10.95 inches of rainfall since Oct. 1. That’s more than an inch more than the average seasonal rainfall to date — 9.74 inches.

Though the flood watch remains, Canepa added that the likelihood of a flood is not high, as of now. That is in part due to the storm’s quick movement through the area.

“The jet stream is expected to push the system through fairly quickly, so the rain will be on the decrease by Saturday afternoon,” said Canepa.

The first day of 2023 will offer a break in the rain, though short-lived. Another weather system will drift into the area on Monday, but will produce lighter rainfall all around — about a half-inch or so. Expect that to remain throughout the rest of 2023’s first week.

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