National Forests in California prepare for rain-on-snow and flooding conditions into next week

US Forest Service

Forest Service News Release

Public Affairs Specialist, Lisa Herron(530) 721-3898

Forest Service asking visitors to avoid traveling in affected areas

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., March 10, 2023 — A strong atmospheric river is bringing heavy rain and high-elevation snow to California that started Thursday night and is expected to last through Sunday, with more rain possible early next week. The greatest impacts are expected over Central and Northern California, particularly flooding across the Sierras.

Several feet of water are trapped in Central and Northern California snowpack. Heavy rains will cause significant melting of heavy snowpack below 6,000 feet and could lead to significant flooding, as well as road and infrastructure damage in those areas. Heavy rains are expected to continue through early next week, which could worsen and prolong flooding impacts.

Some national forests, like the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, have already closed many forest-managed roads for the season. Closures are put in place for public and employee safety. Heavy rain can put forest visitors and residents at risk, particularly those in burn scar areas. Debris flows and flash floods often develop with little warning.

Safety Tips for Heavy Rain and Flooding

Please act with extra caution if you are in affected areas during this high-alert weather event. 

  • Do not camp or park vehicles along streams or rivers.
  • Move to higher ground if heavy rain or rising water occurs.
  • NEVER drive through flooded roadways.

Weather and Planning Resources

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