This is a developing situation and information may change. We’ll update this article as more information becomes available. The most recent information will be updated at the top of the article, with the earlier reports below.
12/27/23 3:07 p.m. — California State Parks announced it closed the following coastal accesses due to the high surf warning and dangerous coastal conditions already being observed:
- Mill Creek Rd. (Laguna Point) at MacKerricher State Park
- Russian Gulch Beach
- Van Damme Beach
- Navarro River Beach
Please do not try to access these areas. Anyone who accesses these beaches may be putting their lives at risk.
MENDOCINO Co., 12/26/23 – Rainy weather returns to Mendocino County on Wednesday, Dec. 27, when widespread moderate to heavy rainfall and high winds blanket the region. The weather is anticipated to bring dangerous beach conditions to the coast and treacherous road conditions along the coast and the northwestern interior of the county.
The storm also brings high winds that could lead to downed tree limbs and power outages. The winds will have the highest impact on high ridges and coastal headlands, creating winds that the National Weather Service Eureka (NWS Eureka) call “strong and potentially damaging.”
We’ve put together an overview of what’s to come, and included some additional resources at the end of the article. We also have a winter weather info guide we recommend you bookmark. We will publish any major weather updates or resources as they become available.
NWS Eureka warnings in place for the Mendocino Coast and select inland areas
The National Weather Service Eureka (NWS Eureka) has issued two warnings for the entire Mendocino Coast and portions of northwestern inland Mendocino County, including Leggett, Willits, Laytonville and Potter Valley. The first is a wind advisory from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. Coastal headlands exposed to the south and east and high ridges could see gusts up to 50 mph. NWS Eureka suggests residents use extra caution while driving, especially if operating high profile vehicles. Unsecured outdoor objects should be secured (including Christmas decorations!). Areas under the advisory may see downed tree limbs and power outages.
Additionally, there is a high surf warning from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28 for the entire Mendocino Coast. NWS Eureka forecasts dangerously large breaking waves with surf runup of 28 to 32 feet. It is advised that individuals keep off jetties and docks and avoid maritime travel when possible.
The Mendocino Coast will experience dangerous wind and heavy rain
Rain will approach the Mendocino Coast tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 26, followed by high winds, creating unsafe driving and beach conditions.
Point Arena and the South Coast will experience rainy conditions starting after 10 p.m. on Tuesday. As of the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 27, high winds will accompany rainy conditions, bringing wind gusts up to 46 mph. By Wednesday evening, gusts will slow to 20 mph and rain totals will range from 0.87 inches to two inches total. On Wednesday, Point Arena will see a high of 59 degrees and a low of 53 degrees.
Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Westport and additional parts of the North Coast will begin to experience rain starting around 5 a.m. on Wednesday. Conditions will deteriorate throughout the day, bringing rain totals of up to 1 inch and wind gusts up to 30 mph. Thunderstorms may be possible before 11 a.m. Showers will continue throughout Wednesday evening and continue through Friday, Dec. 30. The north coastal region will see highs from 58 to 60 degrees and lows between 52 and 54 degrees.
Northwestern inland areas can expect high winds and up to 2 inches of rain
Along the U.S. 101 corridor, Leggett and Laytonville will begin to experience rainy conditions tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 26. Wednesday, Dec. 27, will bring the heaviest rain, totaling up to two and a quarter inches. During the day on Wednesday, south southeast winds will be around 25 mph, gusting up to 40 mph. In the evening, gusts could be as high as 21 mph. Highs on Wednesday will be between 52-53 degrees with lows between 44-46.
Showers will not be as heavy for Willits and Potter Valley, but these areas could see up to an inch of rain on Wednesday. However, the wind gusts are expected to range between 39 and 48 mph during the day on Wednesday, especially at higher elevations.
Anderson Valley, Ukiah and Covelo will also see rain, averaging an inch or less on Wednesday.
Ukiah and Boonville may see wind gusts between 36 and 39 mph. Covelo will see a high of 53 and a low of 38. Ukiah and Boonville will average highs of 57 and 58 and lows of 48 and 47 respectively.
As of Monday afternoon, rainfall amounts aren’t expected to cause major flooding in the usual flood zones, including the Navarro River in Navarro and the Russian River in Hopland. However, conditions may change. River forecast data can be viewed here.
Conditions may vary widely across North Coast microclimates, and on your travel routes, so we’ve included a list of useful resources to keep you updated at the bottom of this article. You can check for the specific forecast for your neighborhood and on current road conditions as they develop.
If you’re going to travel through regions under winter weather warnings, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency and drive safely. Use extra caution when driving, especially high profile vehicles. Find tips on staying safe during high wind events here.
Mendocino Voice Winter weather resources:
- Our guide for winter weather emergency and preparedness info — we recommend you bookmark this
- Check your specific forecast at this link along with the National Weather Service advisories and warnings, as well as their Facebook page and their Twitter page
- Check the CalTrans QuickMap for current road closures or call 1-800-GAS-ROAD
- Check for current accidents at the CHP traffic update page
- Caltrans traffic cameras can be seen here, and here are the PG&E cameras
- You can also check out the Weather Underground to look for weather stations in your area
- Check the PG&E current outage map to find or report power outages
- NWS has flood stage predictions here; and you can find USGS current streamflow information here
- NWS is seeking snowfall reports, and you can submit them to this website.
- We recommend meteorologist Daniel Swain’s Weather West Blog as a good place to find more in-depth current weather analysis
Sarah Stierch covers wildfires, breaking news, and more for The Mendocino Voice. You can follow Stierch on Twitter and learn more about her work and donate to her directly at here. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.