California storm leaves thousands without power and prompts evacuation orders and fears of flooding


Another heavy rain and snow fueled by atmospheric rivers will hit. The drought-stricken state for the next few days.

California storm leaves thousands without power and prompts evacuation orders and fears of flooding


LOS ANGELES – A powerful storm. that hit California has left hundreds of thousands without power. And prompted evacuation orders and flood warnings across the state, officials said Wednesday.

Governor Gavin Newsom earlier 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 as storms. To develop and support local jurisdictions.

Newsom’s office said the heaviest rainfall is expected in Northern. California on Wednesday and Thursday morning. In Southern California, heavy rain was forecast Wednesday night into Thursday.

Mandatory evacuation orders were in effect for several Northern California cities. Including Richmond in the Bay Area and Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.

Thousands of trees were uprooted without electricity

More than 197,000 homes or businesses along the coast from Monterey County. To Oregon were without power as of 10 p.m. according to the tracking website The city of Santa Cruz said 80 people were in its emergency shelter and a warming center was also open.

The storm was also bringing high and potentially dangerous winds. In Marin County, north of San Francisco, winds gusted to 85 mph, the National Weather Service said. Sacramento Executive Airport reported 46 mph gusts.

The San Francisco Fire Department said it was responding. To dozens of downed trees and wires and flooding. A tree falls on a car, trapping a family inside. They were rescued and are doing well, the department said.

Interstate 280 in San Bruno in San Mateo Country was almost completely blocked by. Many” 80-foot trees, the California Highway Patrol said.

Chance of flooding with heavy rain

The Los Angeles area, as well as cities like Ojai and Oxnard. Were under a flood watch as of 10 p.m. Wednesday and runs until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Excessive rain could cause flooding, especially in burn areas. And urban areas, the weather service said. Urban areas saw 2 to 4 inches and mountains up to 8 inches.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Wednesday afternoon. That the effects of the storm are already there.

“San Francisco has been upgraded to a flood warning. Which means flooding is imminent,” Breed said. San Francisco and other counties remained under a flood warning until 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

In Mill Valley, north of San Francisco, heavy flooding was reported. On a busy freeway underpass and a state of emergency was declared in the Silicon Valley city. Of San Jose ahead of Newsom’s announcement.

“We expect this to be one of the most challenging storms in California,” said Nancy Ward. Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Some communities are still cleaning up after some major rainfall. From flooding caused by a storm over the weekend

In Sacramento, a second body was found Wednesday. After another body was found inside a submerged car earlier.

According to Mark Levitt, public information. Officer for the California Highway Patrol’s South Sacramento Division. Law enforcement officers recovered. The second body while towing vehicles stuck in floodwaters on New Year’s Eve.

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

Storms can test infrastructure

While the rainfall seems out of character for the drought-stricken state. California would typically expect to see this type of rainfall in an average winter.

“They’re not big storms, historically by California standards. But they’ve been the big storms. We’ve had the last few years during this drought,” said Jay Lund. Vice director of watershed sciences at the University of California, Davis.

Storm systems can test infrastructure that hasn’t seen heavy flows in years.

“With flood infrastructure, you don’t know if you have a problem until it’s too late. There are so many ways that levees can go wrong, and we have thousands of miles of levees downstream,” Lund said. “They haven’t been tested in years.”

Operators of some of California’s smaller reservoirs, such as Folsom Lake. Were already full and had to release water despite the drought. But the larger reservoirs still had a lot of capacity. Lake Shasta was 34% full and Lake Oroville was 39% full Wednesday. According to the California Department of Water Resources website.

“They’re still pretty low, and I’d be impressed if these storms fill those two nice big reservoirs. That are still a little bit down after a couple of years of drought,” Lund said.

More snow is expected

This year, the state’s snowpack is off to one of its best starts in 40 years, at 174% of the historical average. The third-best measure in the past four decades, state officials said. More snow is expected later this week and into the weekend.

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