Large storm system makes its way through Humboldt, Del Norte counties

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With the Smith River and Six Rivers Lighting Complexes still burning, heavy rain is a welcome surprise.

“We’re usually expecting atmospheric rivers in November, December, January, February timeframe where we get a lot of rain,” NOAA Meteorologist Ryan Alyward said.

“This time of year, if we get something like this, it’s typically more of a beneficial rain. It’s been dry for so long so any rain is helpful.”

The rain itself is not as severe as some winter storms. This means that a moderate or persistent rainfall can help crews battling fires.

“We’re getting like two-tenths of an inch, three-tenths of an inch an hour is really nice for fires,” Alyward said. “It has a consistent rates that is not too heavy.”

With heavier rainfall, it could lead to debris flows and rockslides. Yet, rainfall is only a small factor into a fire’s containment.

“There’s probably still going to be some heat once we get past all this rain for today and a little bit more on Wednesday, which we could start to see smoke again,” Alyward said.

Luckily, smoke does not affect these systems.

The rain helps with the statewide drought, like in Del Norte County.

“For most areas, it’s in good shape,” Alyward said. “But Del Norte has been a little bit dryer compared to normal and it was approaching drought, so this rain is really beneficial and going to help a lot.”