California storm: 90% of residents are under flood watches as another storm threatens mudslides, power outages and deadly inundation


Most of California can’t get another drop of rain. But the state is still reeling from heavy rain and strong winds, causing power outages and treacherous travel conditions.

More than 34 million Californians were under a flood watch Monday — about 90% of the state’s population and 10% of the U.S. population.

Parts of California’s central coast received 1 to 1.25 inches of rain per hour, the National Weather Service said. Heavy rain there on Monday caused flooding, mudslides, debris flows and road closures.

Widespread rainfall of 3 to 6 inches was observed from south of San Francisco to north of Los Angeles. Isolated amounts of 6 to more than 10 inches were seen on higher ground near the coast.

As the rain slowly moved south toward Los Angeles on Monday, the National Weather Service there warned of the risk of flooding, debris flows on land scorched by recent wildfires and an increased risk of rockslides and landslides in the mountains. and on canyon roads.

A flood warning is in effect Monday evening for downtown Los Angeles, an area of ​​more than 7 million people, until midnight local time.

And hurricane-force winds of 74 mph tore through states across the western United States. More than 37 million people were under wind warnings Monday in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona and Wyoming.

Wind gusts reached 132 mph in Oroville, California. Residents in Washoe City, Nevada, were hit with a 98 mph wind gust, the National Weather Service said.


“Expect widespread power outages, downed trees and difficult driving conditions.” National Weather Service in Sacramento tweeted “Now is the time to get ready!”

About 92,000 homes, businesses and other electricity customers were without power Monday evening, according to

And the central California coast may be under a tornado threat, CNN Meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

Flooding occurred in a suburb of Aptos, California on Monday.

The severe weather is part of a never-ending procession of atmospheric rivers that sweep the West Coast.

California is now extremely vulnerable to flooding because much of the state has been damaged by historic drought or devastating wildfires – meaning the land cannot receive much rain.

And after an onslaught of storms from late December caused deadly flooding, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Sunday: “We expect the worst is yet to come.”

Two big waves of rain are expected to hit the West Coast over the next few days – without much of a gap between events for the water to run off.

The system is part of an atmospheric stream—a long, narrow region in the atmosphere that can transport heat thousands of kilometers, like a plume of fire across the sky.

The atmospheric stream that swept California on Monday could bring a 1-in-50-year or 1-in-100-year chance of rain near Fresno, the National Weather Service said.

A moderate threat — level 3 out of 4 — covers more than 26 million people in California, including San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Fresno, where rain is expected to reach 1 inch per hour.

The owners of a restaurant in Aptos, California, placed sandbags in front of their establishment Monday.

The San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz County rose 14 feet in four hours and is in major flood stage. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey, parts of the county will experience “widespread flooding at shallow depths,” and the city of Santa Cruz will experience severe flooding.

The threat will move south on Tuesday, with a threat level of 3 out of 4 centered on Los Angeles.

“While some of the forecasted rainfall totals are impressive alone, it’s important to note that what really sets this event apart are the preceding conditions,” the National Weather Service office in San Francisco said.

“Over the last week many soil systems have saturated, increased the flow of rivers and streams, and really set the stage for this to be a large impact event.”

In Sacramento County, officials warned of “imminent flooding” and issued evacuation orders for the community of Wilton near the Cosumnes River before roads became impassable.

Wilton residents were also forced to evacuate during last week’s storm, when exit roads flooded quickly, officials said.

A man walks through a flooded street in Aptos on Monday.

El Dorado, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara and Alameda counties have issued warnings or evacuation advisories for some areas due to flooding and other safety hazards as forecasters warned of overflowing rivers.

Residents in all areas of Montecito, the city of Santa Barbara and parts of Carpinteria and Summerland are being ordered to evacuate immediately due to the ongoing storm threat, the Santa Barbara County Emergency Management Team said Monday evening.

“GO NOW! This is a rapidly evolving situation,” the team said in a statement.

Montecito is a haven for the rich and famous, including Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres. Monday marks exactly five years since heavy rains caused landslides in the region.

Santa Barbara County officials are advising residents to “be prepared to shelter yourself and your family for several days if you choose not to evacuate, as you may not be able to leave the area and emergency responders may not be able to access your property in the event of damage.” road, flood, or waste flow.”

Part of a parking lot sinks after a storm Sunday at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California.

Newsom asked the White House on Sunday to issue an emergency declaration to support response and recovery efforts.

“We are in the midst of a deadly series of winter storms — and California is using every resource at its disposal to protect lives and limit damage,” Newsom said in a statement. “We take the threat of these storms seriously, and want to make sure Californians stay alert as more storms are headed our way.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued a Local Declaration of Emergency on Monday due to continued winter storms that began on New Year’s Eve, according to a news release from his office.

The storm system comes on the heels of a powerful storm that tore through parts of California last week, downing trees and knocking out power. Earlier, a Christmas weekend storm system unleashed deadly flooding.

At least 12 Californians have died from “storm effects” such as flooding since late December, the governor’s office said.

In San Luis Obispo County, search crews from the sheriff’s office and Cal Fire rescues were searching Monday for a 5-year-old boy who was reported swept away in floodwaters near the Salinas River in San Miguel.

“Flooding kills more people than any natural disaster,” California Emergency Services Director Nancy Ward said Sunday. “We’ve had more deaths since Dec. 31 in this flooding storm than we’ve had in the last two seasons of the most intense wildfires in California.”

Fatalities from flooding can occur when drivers try to cross standing water.

“Just a foot of water and your car is flooded. Half a foot in water, you’re off your feet. Half a foot of water, you lose control of your vehicle,” Newsom said.

“We see people going around these walks because they don’t see any obstacles — they think everything is fine, and they’re putting their lives at risk or putting the lives of first responders at risk.”

For anyone who doesn’t need to travel during the peak of this storm, “please don’t,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “Be prepared for power outages and other disruptions. Have these lamps, candles, batteries, cell phones ready.”

Flooded roads, downed trees and downed power lines are already making travel difficult, the California Highway Patrol said. Over the weekend, some trees that fell into cars and houses were broken. On Monday, portions of Pacific Ocean Highway – US 101, a major north-south highway, were closed.

Santa Barbara Airport, a tri-county regional airport, is closed due to flooding airport officials said Monday.

Crane operator Ricky Kapuschinsky prepares to remove fallen trees on Sunday in Sacramento, California.

California is experiencing “weather whiplash,” Newsom said, from severe drought conditions to now battling its fifth atmospheric hurricane.

Most of the state has seen 5 to 8 inches of rain in the past week. Another two to four inches of rain is expected across the coast and valleys — and even more in the hills and mountains by Tuesday.

Rising water from rivers can overflow and inundate communities.

Rain over the weekend brought renewed flooding concerns for streams, rivers and streams. Colgan Creek, Berryessa Creek, Mark West Creek, Green Valley Creek and the Cosumnes River are all above flood stage or expected to be in the next few days.

“The cumulative effect of consecutive heavy rain events will lead to increased flooding events. This includes rapid water rises, landslides and the potential for major river flooding,” the National Weather Service said Monday.

The moisture is expected to move south Monday night, and flooding may “increase” Tuesday along the southern California coast, the weather service said. Strong winds are expected to accompany the storm as it moves inland.

“Valley areas are likely to see gusts of 45-50 mph, with gusts in excess of 60 mph in areas,” the National Weather Service in Reno said. Sierra Ridge could receive gusts between 130 and 150 mph Monday.

For those at higher elevations, heavy snow and strong winds will be the biggest concerns.

Parts of the higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada have received more than 100″ — or 8.3 feet — of snow in the past few weeks alone, the Weather Forecast Center said.

Another 6 meters of snow is now expected in some parts of the Sierra.

More than 5 feet of snow could fall on the Sierra Crest west of Lake Tahoe as the storm makes landfall, the weather service said.

Due to the heavy snow and strong winds, conditions on the roads are likely to be slippery.


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