Atmospheric river storm system expected to bring widespread rain to metro Phoenix this week

Feb 5, 2024, 9:37 AM | Updated: 12:45 pm

Police officers notify residents of rising floods during a rainstorm, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Sant...

Police officers notify residents of rising floods during a rainstorm on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Santa Barbara, California. The atmospheric river storm system is expected to hit the Phoenix area on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

(AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

PHOENIX – The atmospheric river wreaking havoc in California is on its way to Arizona.

The storm system is expected to bring widespread rain, windy conditions and cool temperatures to the Valley during WM Phoenix Open week.

“What we’re looking at going into Tuesday is rain starting to push in from the west, starting off basically over southwest Arizona — Yuma area — and that’s going to progress throughout the day toward Phoenix,” Matt Salerno, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday morning.

When will atmospheric river flow into metro Phoenix?

Parts of metro Phoenix could start seeing showers as early as Tuesday afternoon. The rain is expected to pick up throughout the day, with the heaviest activity, including possible thunderstorms, blanketing the region late Tuesday into Wednesday.

Most of the Valley will see rain totals in the range of 0.5 inches to 1 inch, with the foothills and mountainous terrain north and east of Phoenix getting up to 1.5 inches, Salerno said.

With moderate to heavy rainfall in the forecast, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for south-central Arizona, including most of the Valley, for Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday evening.

“We could see a continuation of rain all the way through Thursday, as well. That’s going to be mainly for northern Maricopa County and southern Gila County and parts of Pinal County, as well, but just for mainly the higher terrain areas” Salerno said.

Additional disturbances could bring more precipitation Friday and Saturday.

“This is going to be more of like a prolonged rain event with periods of moderate rainfall here and there. So just, overall, a soggy, wet week for us,” Salerno said.

Valley temperatures are expected to reach the mid-70s on Monday and upper 60s on Tuesday, but highs will likely hover around 60 degrees the rest of the week.

An addition, winds are expected to kick up when the storms arrive, with gusts up 20-30 mph during the heaviest activity.

Will storms affect WM Phoenix Open activities?

The storm is due to arrive in the middle of WM Phoenix Open week at TPC Scottsdale.

Practice rounds are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Those seem fairly safe, as far as the weather is concerned, but things could get dicey for Wednesday’s Annexus Pro-Am and the early rounds of the four-day pro tournament, which tees off Thursday.

Tournament officials will broadcast weather warnings on the golf course’s electronic leaderboards. A prolonged air horn blast will signify that play is suspended and spectators should seek shelter.

‘Pineapple Express’ system hits hard across California

The atmospheric river was churning through California on Monday, flooding roadways and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people and prompting a rare warning for hurricane-force winds, but won’t be as powerful when it reaches Arizona.

The system inundated streets and brought down trees and electrical lines Sunday across the San Francisco Bay Area, where winds topped 60 mph in some areas. Gusts exceeding 80 mph were recorded in the mountains.

The storm unleashed record levels of rain over parts of Los Angeles on Monday, sending mud and boulders down hillsides dotted with multimillion-dollar homes, posing grave dangers for the city’s large homeless population and knocking out power for more than a million people in California.

Much of the state had been drying out from the system that blew in last week, causing flooding and dumping welcome snow in mountains. The latest storm, also called a “Pineapple Express” because its plume of moisture stretches back across the Pacific to near Hawaii, arrived offshore in Northern California on Saturday, when most of the state was under some sort of wind, surf or flood watch.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Atmospheric river storm system expected to bring widespread rain to metro Phoenix this week