Another storm hits California after an intense wave of bad weather that leaves 19 dead. But at last there’s a breather on the horizon
(CNN) — Storm-ravaged California must endure yet another assault of ferocious winds, torrential rains and possible flooding as the latest atmospheric river rips through the state on Monday.
About 8 million people remain under flood watches in effect for California’s central coast, including the Bay Area, as of Monday afternoon.
The additional rains could lead to more flooding, mudslides and mudslides as land supersaturated from recent downpours faces more water. California has already suffered more than 400 landslides since December 30, according to the California Geological Survey.
And violent winds could topple trees on weakened soil, threatening more power outages and misery in the state.
Since Christmas week, an avalanche of storms has killed 19 people, destroyed homes and turned entire neighborhoods into lakes.
But California will get some much-needed respite later this week.
“As we head into Tuesday, we see calmer weather across much of the state, with an additional fast-moving system arriving later Wednesday through early Thursday morning,” said David Lawrence of the National Metereological Service.
“After that, we’re finally going to see a period of dry weather for much of the state as we move toward the end of the week and pretty much through the weekend.”
Before the long-awaited respite, here’s what’s in store for us earlier this week:
- The central coast of California will begin to slowly dry out beginning Monday afternoon.
- Southern California will be drenched in rain Monday through early Tuesday, and more than 6 inches of snow could fall on the region’s mountains.
- Another 12 to 24 inches of snow is expected to accumulate Monday in the Sierra Nevada, which is already seeing several inches of snow due to the recent barrage of storms.
- A weak storm system is hitting northern and central California early Wednesday and Thursday, but significant rain and snowfall are not expected.
- After that, California will finally see several days of dry weather, something that has been expected for a long time.
“We have lost too much”
Among the 19 people who have died during recent storms in California are two people who were found with trees on top of their tents, people whose cars were submerged in floodwaters and a child who died when a redwood tree fell. about a house
And rescuers are still searching for 5-year-old Kyle Doan, who was taken from his mother’s arms by a flood after his SUV was swept away in San Luis Obispo County on January 9.
“We have lost too much, too many people to these storms and to these waters,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Saturday, urging residents to prepare for another round of rain.
The latest storm will bring heavy snowfall in the mountains and periods of heavy rain, with an additional 10 to 760mm of rain expected in areas already too saturated to absorb more water.
A slight risk, level 2 of 4, of excessive rainfall and flooding covers much of Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles area, through Monday morning and then reduces to a marginal risk during the day.
Meanwhile, winter storm warnings have been posted for the Sierra Nevada, where up to 3 feet of snow could fall through Monday.
Authorities urged residents of Ventura County’s remote Matilija Canyon to leave their homes Sunday after more than 17 inches of high-intensity rain caused significant damage and left massive piles of rock and mud more than 40 feet high. that blocked some roads and isolated residents, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said, adding that more than ten helicopter flights have airlifted more than 70 area residents.
In northern San Joaquin County, about 175 residents were voluntarily evacuated from a mobile home park Sunday, including by boat, after floodwaters inundated the community, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
Evacuation warnings were also issued Sunday night for residents near the Carmel River in Monterey County on California’s central coast. A warning has also been issued for residents of the Wilton area of Sacramento County.
“People are fatigued by evacuation orders. People are tired of seeing those Caltrans turn signals that say ‘detour’; in general, they are fatigued,” Newsom said at a news conference on Saturday.
The parade of atmospheric rivers—long, narrow regions in the atmosphere that can carry moisture thousands of miles—turned California communities into lakes, paralyzed highways, and prompted thousands of evacuations.
For now, the state is bracing for more flooding, mudslides and rescues. Rapid water resources and firefighters have positioned themselves across the state in preparation for Monday, which could see the heaviest rains this round, state officials said.
Wind gusts reached hurricane force Sunday in the higher elevations of southern California, where about 14 million people were under wind advisories through Monday.
And as the latest storm approached, President Joe Biden on Saturday approved California’s disaster declaration request, freeing up federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in areas of the state hit by storms, flooding and mudslides since the December 27.
Assistance from the federal government may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, loans to help cover property losses for uninsured homes, according to the White House.
Weather-fatigued California has been dealing with deadly flooding for weeks
Some isolated higher rainfall rates of 130mm per hour could lead to a couple of instances of flooding, especially given the very wet conditions when atmospheric rivers pummeled the state in previous weeks.
Although this weekend’s rainfall totals will be lower than previous storms, the threshold for flooding is much lower now because the ground is too saturated and conditions are ripe for landslides and mudslides.
There have been 402 landslides across the state since December 30, according to the California Geological Survey.
The rain totals in the last few weeks have been immense. San Francisco has already logged one of its 15 wettest winters on record. The Bay Area could see 1-2 inches of rain this Monday afternoon with the wetter peaks seeing up to 3 inches.
To the south, the Los Angeles area saw several places that established daily records of rain with between 25 to 50 mm Received this Saturday. Southern California may still see isolated areas where heavy rain could reach up to a half inch per hour in the strongest storms.
Some areas of Santa Cruz County have seen more than 34 inches of rain since Dec. 26, according to the county recovery officer. If this is confirmed by the weather service, it would put Santa Cruz among the five wettest winters on record, with a month to go in the season.
“We are flooding our coastal creeks, creeks and rivers,” said David Reid, a Santa Cruz County official. “And we are having extensive landslides and mudslides and road failures in our mountainous areas.”
“There’s definitely a fatigue that goes on with continued storms — people start to fear that what we’re telling them isn’t true, but we do have real concerns,” Reid added.
The need for residents to follow evacuation orders and adhere to road closures is real. Crews across the state have been responding to rescues in flooded streets and neighborhoods for weeks.
Storm-related deaths in recent weeks included a woman whose body was found inside a vehicle that washed up in a flooded vineyard, two people who were found with trees on top of their tents, a child who died when a redwood tree fell on a house, and several other deaths.
And in San Luis Obispo County, rescuers are still searching for 5-year-old Kyle Doan, who was torn from his mother’s hands by floodwaters Monday after his SUV was swept away.
Rains Saturday made the search difficult as water levels rose in the San Marcos Creek and Salinas River, but crews returned to search for the boy Sunday when conditions improved, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said. .
Heavy snowfall will make mountain travel conditions ‘almost impossible’
As lower elevations face heavy rain and possible flooding and mudslides, those who live at higher elevations can expect heavy snowfall and hazardous road conditions.
Up to 300 feet of new snow could fall through Monday in the Sierra Nevada, while the mountains of southern California could see several inches of snow early Tuesday morning.
Flagstaff, Arizona, saw 15 inches of snow on Sunday, breaking a previous record of 9 inches set in 1978.
There’s heavy outbound South Lake Tahoe traffic on WB US 50 from about Country Club Drive through the Meyers roundabout and over Echo Summit. Traffic starts to lighten up just before Twin Bridges. There’s still chain controls but no traffic incidents reported along the corridor. pic.twitter.com/HjSwOTwcXu
—Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) January 15, 2023
“Heavy mountain snow and high winds will cause snowy conditions and blowout at times, creating hazardous conditions for nearly impossible travel above 4,000 feet in the mountains and passes of central California and above 5,000 feet in Southern California,” the National Weather Service said.
Snow could hit the mountains at a rate of 5 centimeters per hour at times through Monday morning in the Sierra Nevada, the weather service added.
By this Tuesday, rain and snow will move into the Four Corners Region, but isolated showers and snow showers could still affect parts of Southern California on Tuesday morning.
The lower elevations in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico can see between 1 to 10 centimeters of snow and the higher elevations can see 30 to 60 centimeters.
— CNN’s Monica Garrett, Michelle Watson, Amanda Jackson and Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.