Weather in San Francisco is about to turn treacherous. California is bracing for the “Pineapple Express,” its worst storm in 25 years. The schools in the San Francisco area are closing for the first time since the 9/11 terror attacks. The mega storm heading into the region is expected to bring a “wall of rain,” heavy snow, and wicked wind gusts.
A storm system powered by the Pineapple Express has prompted a steady stream of moisture into the San Francisco area from Hawaii. Meteorologists have described the Pineapple Express as a “long, narrow plume that pipes moisture from the tropics into the western United States.”
The San Francisco storm is being called the Pineapple Express, the “Storm of the Century,” and the “Storm of the Decade,” and is being described as a horizontal hurricane. The National Weather Service said the California West Coast is about to be impacted by “one of the strongest storms in terms of wind and rain.”
Moderate wind gusts and rain hit the Northern California Coast late Wednesday evening. Schools San Francisco, Oakland, and Marin County were ordered closed on Thursday due to the impending heavy rain and high winds. The Great Highway in the San Francisco area was also closed. The freeway runs along the Pacific Ocean and the far western side of the city.
In Southern California residents in the Pineapple Express affected areas are witnessing massive dark clouds hovering above their hoes. Los Angeles County officials closed several main roads around the Castaic Lake area in preparation for potential mud slides. Castaic Lake is a state recreation area situated in the Santa Clarita Mountains.
The weather in San Francisco will possibly bring flooding to parts of Northern California. The region is expected to receive three to six inches of rain, according to AccuWeather. The rain forecast for the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area could include up to nine inches of rain. If the anticipated rapid rainfall arrives, waterways and road drainage systems could be overly taxed and lead to flash flooding.
“Burned areas are especially at risk for debris slides. Even regions that don’t experience regular seasonal flooding could see flash flooding during this intense storm system,” California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services representative, Mark Ghilarducci, said.
Winds gusts of up to 60 MPH are also expected during the Storm of the Century, according to San Francisco weather reports. Residents have been asked to remove their Christmas decorations, especially inflatable items. Approximately four feet of snow is expected to fall in the Sierra Nevada region, with wind gusts up to 80 MPH also predicted.
The San Francisco weather forecast is not expected to put an end to the California drought, but will be a “step in the right direction” according to emergency management officials. The Storm of the Century or the Storm of the Decade has also prompted a viral hashtag – #bayareastorm so locals can share their images, comments, and weather warnings with others.
[Image via: Twitter]