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Next Wave of California Storm May Bring Thunderstorms and Tornadoes to Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area got a reprieve from the rain on Monday afternoon, but another round of storms is forecast for Tuesday, with the possibility of thunderstorms, as a powerful atmospheric river continues to bore down on California.

The next California storm might bring thunderstorms and tornadoes to the Bay Area. Thunderstorms are expected to be a “marginal danger” across the greater San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. Scattered showers are also expected to continue into Tuesday, however, total rainfall quantities are expected to be lower than on Monday.

While the risk of thunderstorms may appear low, Brooke Bingaman, a meteorological service forecaster, emphasized that the risk, if they do come, is significant because of the region’s heavy rains since Dec. 26. “If you’re in a location that gets a heavy rainstorm, it has the potential to worsen any flooding that’s going on,” Bingaman told SFGATE over the phone at 9:30 p.m.

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Monday. “Even though there is a 5 to 15% probability, we still need people to be alert. They must pay attention to local officials for evacuation orders.” In a briefing on Monday night, the weather service stated that “flash flooding is conceivable if storms affect a burn scar or other hydrologically susceptible places.”

The next wave of the storm is predicted to hit the Bay Area between 1 and 4 a.m. Tuesday. “The chance for thunderstorms will then persist through the day Tuesday until it arrives,” Bingaman added. Thunderstorms, lightning, torrential downpours, strong gusts, tiny hail, and even a very slight probability of tornadoes are all in the forecast.

With soils already saturated from previous heavy rains, the meteorological agency is particularly concerned about the potential of fallen trees, according to Bingaman. “We already have trees falling left and right; a thunderstorm, and it’s game over,” she explained.

The weather service predicts a 5% likelihood of tornadic activity, with the risk being greatest around the shore. Again, the possibility is limited, but the risk, if it occurs, is rather substantial, according to Bingaman. “It could bring really high winds locally,” she stated.

“Homes may sustain damage. If people receive a warning that there is tornado activity, they must consider how to keep themselves safe in their homes. They need to find an inside room in their house, preferably one without windows. The more walls you can build between you and your house’s exterior, the better. Protect yourself from flying debris by gathering pillows, blankets, and a mattress.”

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