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California storms leave thousands without power, prompt evacuation orders and flooding threats

A precarious cliff looms over the Pacific Coast Highway, and heavy rains threaten to cause road-blocking landslides.

Robert Gautier | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

of powerful storm The quake that hit California cut power to tens of thousands of people and issued evacuation orders and flood warnings statewide, officials said Wednesday.

Governor Gavin Newsom previously declared a state of emergency as the weather was expected to bring heavy rain, snow and flooding. The declaration will allow state agencies to respond quickly and support local jurisdictions when storms strike.

According to Newsom’s office, the heaviest rainfall was expected in Northern California on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Southern California was expected to see the heaviest rain Wednesday night through Thursday.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for several Northern California cities, including Richmond in the Bay Area and Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.

Thousands without power, trees fall

More than 197,000 households or businesses were without power as of 10 p.m., mainly along the coast from Monterey County to Oregon, according to tracking websites. Poweroutage.us. The city of Santa Cruz said 80 people are in emergency shelters and a warming center is open.

The storm was also bringing potentially dangerous high winds. Marin County, north of San Francisco, recorded gusts of 85 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Sacramento Executive Airport saw gusts of 46 mph.

The San Francisco Fire Department said dozens of trees and power lines were down in response to the flooding. tree fell I got in the car and locked my family in the car. The ministry said they were rescued and are safe.

Interstate 280 in San Bruno, San Mateo County was almost completely blocked by “multiple” fallen 80 foot trees. California Highway Patrol said.

Possibility of flooding due to heavy rain

The Los Angeles area, along with cities such as Ojai and Oxnard, were under flood watch starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday and continuing until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Excessive rain can cause flooding, especially in burn scars and urban areas. the meteorological agency saidIt can reach 2 to 4 inches in urban areas and 8 inches in mountains.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said late Wednesday afternoon that the effects of the storm were already being felt.

“San Francisco has been upgraded to a flood warning, which means flooding is inevitable,” Breed said. San Francisco and other counties were under flood warnings until 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

In Mill Valley, north of San Francisco, the Silicon Valley city of San Jose declared a state of emergency ahead of Newsom’s announcement, with reports of massive flooding in underpasses of busy highways.

“We expect this to be one of California’s most difficult storms,” ​​said Nancy Ward, director of the governor’s Emergency Services Agency.

Some communities that experienced some of the heaviest downpours were still cleaning up from flooding caused by the weekend’s storms.

In Sacramento, a second body was found Wednesday near where another body was previously found inside a submerged car.

Law enforcement officers recovered a second body while towing a car that had become stranded during an accident. New Year’s Eve Floodaccording to Marc Leavitt, public relations officer for the Southern Sacramento Division of the California Highway Patrol.

Both deaths appeared to be weather-related, he said.

Storm could test infrastructure

more snow is expected

This year, the state’s snow cover is off to its best start in 40 years at 174% of its historical average, the third best reading in 40 years. More snow is expected later this week and into the weekend.

Water officials are cautiously optimistic about the impact of the current rainfall on a prolonged drought.

“The massive Sierra snowfall is good news, but unfortunately the same storms are flooding parts of California,” said Carla Nemes, director of the State Water Resources Department. said in a statement“This is a prime example of the threat of extreme flooding during prolonged droughts as climate change causes California to experience more variation between wet and dry seasons.”

After a powerful storm hit the Sierra Nevada in December 2021, snow cover in California was nearly 100% of its normal range for that time of year. After three months of very dry conditions followed by heavy snow and rain, hopes of drought relief quickly faded.

Much of California’s water comes from meltwater in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter, but it remains to be seen whether the state’s recent patterns will be enough to offset the ongoing drought.

“Until the end of March, we don’t know if we’re going to have a wet year or a dry one. There’s very little correlation from one month to the next,” Lund said. The first day of the month is typically the peak of snowfall, and May and June supply the reservoir with snowmelt. But that dynamic is changing.

“The warming of the climate over the last decade or so has resulted in less snow accumulation, faster melting, and increased evaporation from watersheds,” said Lund. He said.

Most of the state is still suffering from severe drought, according to the report. US Drought Monitor.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/05/california-storm-prompts-evacuation-orders-as-state-braces-for-flooding.html California storms leave thousands without power, prompt evacuation orders and flooding threats

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