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Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Eureka kicked things into high gear this past week to monitor two recent rain storms that wreaked some havoc in Humboldt.
The operations center has people working around the clock, 365 days a year to provide weather forecasts and issue warnings for almost all of Northwest California. The meteorologists say it can be a quiet weather area for long stretches of time, so they have to stay sharp and ready for when storms do arrive. Which brings some action to the office.
“Folks get into it and pay attention with great concentration to make sure we can predict when the storm is going to hit, how much wind there’s going to be, what kind of rainfall amounts, flooding, snow levels, impacts on travel, impact on the marine environment, and impacts on aviation,” said meteorologist in charge, Troy Nicolini. “So it gets pretty hopping around here and it’s pretty exciting.”
The service says it hasn’t seen a storm of this magnitude in the area since 2005. It caused flooding, big and small rivers to become flooded, ponding, and high winds.
The NWS also says Eureka’s “water year,” which starts in October, typically has 18 inches of rain by this time of year, but it’s already had 31 inches. And that the total water year is usually 40 inches, but with a few rainy months to go it’s also expected to exceed the average.
“I think it’s important to remember this is not the last storm we’re going to have this winter,” said meteorologist Ryan Aylward. “It’s still January and we’ve had flooding in March several times in the past. So be prepared for the weather. Be prepared for the possibility of more flooding.”
The service says that next rainstorm could be as early as next week.