(ABC4) – If you’re reading this before your evening commute on Monday, please take extreme precautions on your way home.
The entire state is expected to receive a month’s worth of rain in less than a 24-hour stretch beginning sometime in the afternoon.
“It’s definitely going to be an inconvenience, especially given the fact that it’s poised to happen around the evening commute until about two or three o’clock in the morning here around the Wasatch Front,” ABC4 meteorologist Cesar Cornejo explains. “Imagine, rush hour already slows down traffic. Accidents will just continue to pile up.”
The intense storm, which has already slammed most of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, can be attributed to something called a “bomb cyclone.” While the nickname already creates imagery of impending trouble from the skies, a storm reaches that qualification. Essentially, when a mid-latitude cyclone reaches rapid intensification and dumps a massive amount of rain within a 24-hour stretch, it reaches the threshold of “bombogenesis” – or bomb, for short.
The Bay Area in California has been drenched due to the current cyclone conditions, with over four inches falling in San Francisco. That collection marked the wettest October day ever on record for the sourdough bread capital of the world. From Sunday to Monday, Sacramento received 5.44, a 24-hour record that had stood since 1880.
The storm system is expected to heavily impact Utah. While there may not be multiple inches of rain, Cornejo is forecasting a single inch throughout the evening, that single stretch will be more than an entire October’s worth of rain in the Beehive State.
ABC4 Chief Meteorologist Alana Brophy says these events, which can also be known as “atmospheric rivers”, are a boon to the states, especially coming on the heels of exceptional drought.
“This is a great storm event,” she gushes excitedly. “We like to call them drought busters because when they come in, they drop a tremendous amount of rain in a short amount of time.”
In comparison to last year, which was extremely dry and set the tone for a low water year, 2021 is off to a good start. Brophy explains that so far, the state has received seven times the amount of precipitation that it got last October. Storms like the one expected to affect nearly all of Utah on Monday could push the number into record-setting territory.
Like Cornejo, Brophy echoes that hitting the road in the evening could be particularly hazardous as the bomb-like rain pelts the ground.
“We’re talking ponding on roads, visibility will be down because we’ll see heavy rain, the mountains above 7500 feet are going to see heavy snow,” Brophy cautions. “So this does come with travel impacts. It’s usually a window of time where we’re seeing moderate to heavy precipitation and that really can complicate things on the roads.”
However, ready for whatever comes in her silver-colored Hunter rain boots, Brophy states the inconvenience and wetness to start the week is a good sign for the times ahead.
“It does really help us in the way of moisture, I love a healthy start to the water year, love a healthy start to October,” she says. “This is finally a month we are overperforming and a storm like this, if we could get a few more, gosh, I’d be really happy with that.”