(CNN) — Nearly the entire population of California remains under flood alerts as the rain-soaked state braces for more precipitation and officials urge people to try to stay off the roads early this week.

California continues to recover from a potent storm earlier this month which brought record-breaking rainfall and triggered hundreds of mudslides in the southern parts of the state.

While the storms in this week’s forecast are not anticipated to be as severe, parts of California could see rainfall totals up to 5 inches through midweek and 37 million are under flood watches.

The Los Angeles office of the National Weather Service warned “significant flooding” is possible and 2 to 5 inches of rain are expected – with up to 10 inches in isolated areas of the Santa Lucias and Santa Ynez ranges.

“Avoid flooded roadways and prepare your property for flooding,” the office said on X.

It also issued warnings of possible large mud or rock slides on canyon roads and debris flows in areas recently burned by wildfires.

“Multiple rounds of moderate to heavy showers, and perhaps a couple of thunderstorms, are expected to affect the region from this evening through Wednesday morning,” the weather service said in its flood watch for the area.

The first round of rain began across central California early Saturday evening and the second storm Sunday was slow-moving, which will ramp up the potential for significant flooding. At one point this weekend, about 38 million people were under flood watches.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has activated the state’s operations center, his office announced Sunday.

“Our state is taking this next storm seriously, and we ask all Californians to take steps now to prepare,” he said in a news release.

The governor directed the Office of Emergency Services to preposition swift water rescue teams, other personnel and equipment in several counties to be able to respond to emergencies.

Santa Barbara County has issued evacuation warnings for three areas and residents were told to prepare to leave should conditions call for evacuation orders.

The Weather Prediction Center has issued excessive rain outlooks through Tuesday for much of California and parts of Nevada, and the risk peaks at a Level 3 of 4 for Sunday and Monday.

Major cities facing the biggest risks over the next several days include Santa Barbara with a Level 3 of 4 risk on Sunday and Monday, and Los Angeles with a Level 2 of 4 risk on Monday and Tuesday.

The city of San Francisco, which also is under a Level 2 risk through Wednesday morning, is providing some residents and businesses with 10 free sandbags. Officials are concerned about “excessive runoff from moderate to heavy rain,” which may lead to flooding, according to a post from the city on X.

The National Weather Service office in Sacramento implored residents to have a means to get weather alerts and said threats on Monday include: brief tornadoes, large amounts of small hail, heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds.

Higher elevations brace for heavy snow

The office also said Sunday a winter storm warning is in effect through Wednesday at 10 a.m.

“Heaviest snowfall will be tonight into Monday morning. Sierra travel will be difficult with possible road closures, chain controls and reduced visibilities,” forecasters said on X.

Winter storm warnings are in effect for the eastern Sierra. The weather service said 3 to 5 feet of snow are possible where altitudes are 9,000 feet or above. Wind gusts may reach 50 mph, forecasters said.

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the Greater Lake Tahoe area, including the Sierra passes through Wednesday morning.

The storm is expected to bring heavy snowfall and gusty winds and travel could be “very difficult to impossible” across Sierra passes including Donner Summit, Echo Summit and Carson Pass, the Reno office said. With Monday a holiday, forecasters warning travelers of increased traffic, to prepare for longer commutes and possible delays.

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