WATSONVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A new atmospheric river rushed into California swamps early Tuesday morning, causing more flooding, potentially damaging winds and winds on mountain highways, forecasters said. warned of difficult travel conditions.
Initial rainfall was low as the system extended north and central. But the National Weather Service said it is intensifying and the heaviest rainfall is still offshore.
The system was expected to hit quickly, moving rapidly from north to south. But officials were concerned the runoff would cause flooding because California’s unusually wet winter had oversaturated the soil.
This winter, the state has been hit so far by ten atmospheric rivers, long plumes of moisture from the Pacific, and powerful storms fueled by Arctic air that created blizzard conditions. on the east coast, Beginning of the winter storm Heavy wet snow forced planes to slide off runways, closed hundreds of schools, canceled flights and caused thousands of power outages in parts of the northeast on Tuesday.
In California, more dangerous flooding was expected on the central coast, but where the embankment broke That’s because the Pajaro River was swollen last week from runoff from the atmospheric river.
The first breach in the Pajaro River has extended to at least 400 feet (120 meters) since it burst late Friday, officials said. Rising water levels that night forced more than 8,500 people to evacuate and about 50 had to be rescued.
Still, some were left behind in Pajaro, an unincorporated community known for its strawberry harvest, which is now largely flooded. Farmworker communities, mostly of Latino descent, are already struggling to find food as so many roads and businesses were closed in the aftermath of the storm.
Resident Jorbelit Rincon said Monday: “Some people have nowhere to go. Maybe that’s why there are still people. Most of them don’t know where to go and they don’t have money to live on their own. ‘ said.
The second breach opened the levees closer to the Pacific coast an additional 100 feet (30.48 meters), providing a “relief valve” for floodwaters to recede near the mouth of the river, officials said at a news conference Monday. Stated.
Built in the late 1940s to prevent flooding, the dyke has been known to be at risk for decades, with several breaches in the 1990s. In January, emergency repairs were made to some of the berms. A $400 million rebuild is set to begin in the next few years.
An evacuation order was due to be issued in Santa Barbara County at 8 a.m. Tuesday for several areas along the Southern California coast that have been ravaged by wildfires in recent years. According to the National Weather Service, burnt soil is water repellent and can increase the risk of debris flows such as flash floods and fallen trees.
Water from the latest storm is likely to flow over the Pajaro River levee, but workers were working to prevent further ruptures, said Shauna Murray of the Monterey County Water Resources Department. Over the weekend, the crew had to build an access road to reach the breach and bring in rocks and boulders to seal the gap.
The river separates Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, about 110 kilometers south of San Francisco. Several roads were closed, including Coastal Highway 1, the main highway that connects the two counties.
Monterey County officials also warned that the Salinas River could cause severe flooding of roads and farmlands, cutting off the Monterey Peninsula from the rest of the county.
Deputy Sheriff Keith Boyd said first responders have rescued about 170 people stranded inside the county evacuation zone since Friday.
Between 20 and 40 people remained trapped near the Salinas River Monday because roads were impassable to rescuers, deputy sheriffs said.
Authorities have not received any reports of storm-related deaths or missing persons as of Monday afternoon.
Wineries and agriculture experts in the area said they were concerned about the impact the storm would have on their crops.
Carla Loreto, who works at a gas station in Pajaro, said she was worried about the impact the floods would have on farm workers in the area.
“Right now the fields are flooded,” she said on Monday. No strawberries, no blackberries, no blueberries this year. “
https://www.ksby.com/news/california-news/new-atmospheric-river-pushes-into-swamped-california New atmospheric river rushes to flooded California