In Los Angeles A severe storm that blasted California on Wednesday caused trees to fall and electrical lines to be felled in San Francisco, according to officials. Other sections of the state were also ordered to evacuate.
Since significant rain, snow, and flooding were predicted due to the weather, Governor Gavin Newsom had proclaimed a state of emergency.
Several Northern California communities, including Richmond in the Bay Area and Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, have mandatory evacuation orders in place.
London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, stated late on Wednesday that the storm’s effects were immediately felt.
Floods are unavoidable now that San Francisco is under a flood warning, according to Breed.
According to the San Francisco Fire Department, they were reacting to water as well as several downed trees and cables. A family was trapped inside a car as a tree collapsed on it. According to the department, they were saved and are well.
While some areas were still cleaning up from floods brought on by a storm over the weekend, others were dealing with some of the worst downpours.
In Sacramento, a second corpse was recovered on Wednesday not far from the scene of the earlier discovery of a person inside a submerged car.
According to Mark Leavitt, public information officer with the California Highway Patrol’s South Sacramento section, police found the second victim while towing automobiles that became stuck during a New Year’s Eve downpour.
He claimed that both fatalities looked to be weather-related.
Prior to Newsom’s statement, the city of San Jose in Silicon Valley declared a state of emergency after receiving reports of significant flooding on a key highway underpass in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco.
According to Nancy Ward, head of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, this storm might end up being one of the most difficult ones California has ever seen.
With Newsom’s proclamation, state agencies will be able to help local governments and react fast as the storm intensifies.
According to the tracking website Power outage us, almost 155,000 homes or businesses were without power as of 7 p.m., largely along the coast from Monterey County to Oregon.
Additionally, the storm was bringing strong winds that might be harmful. The National Weather Service said that wind gusts of 85 mph were recorded in Marin County, which is located north of San Francisco. Sacramento Executive Airport recorded a gust of 46 mph.
Although the rain seems unusual for the drought-stricken state, analysts said California would typically expect to get this kind of rainfall during an ordinary winter.
According to historical norms for California, these storms are not particularly large, but Jay Lund, deputy director of watershed sciences at the University of California Davis, noted that they are significant given the recent drought.
Storm systems may put to the test infrastructure that hasn’t experienced large volumes in a while.
Levees may fail in so many different ways, and we have thousands of miles of levees downstream of reservoirs, according to Lund. “With flood infrastructure, you don’t know if you have a problem until it’s too late,” he added. They haven’t undergone testing in a while.
In spite of the drought, managers of several of California’s smaller reservoirs, including Folsom Lake, had to discharge water because they were already full. Larger reservoirs had a lot more capacity, nevertheless. According to the website of the California Department of Water Resources, on Wednesday, Lake Shasta was 34% full and Lake Oroville was 39% full.
They are still fairly low, and Lund said it would be impressive if the storms filled the two big reservoirs, which are still relatively low after several years of drought.
According to state officials, this year’s snowpack for the state is off to one of its greatest starts in 40 years, standing at 174% of the historical average, the third-best measurement over the previous 40 years. Later this week and throughout the weekend, more snow is predicted.
Water authorities continue to be cautiously optimistic about how the recent rains would affect the ongoing drought.
Unfortunately, these same storms are causing floods in certain areas of California, according to Karla Nemeth, head of the state Department of Water Resources. “The huge Sierra snowpack is excellent news,” she said. “As California faces increasing swings between rainy and dry seasons caused by our changing climate, this is a perfect example of the possibility of severe floods amid a lengthy drought.”
After intense storms inundated the Sierra Nevada Mountains in December 2021, California’s snowpack was almost 100% of its average range for that time of year. After three months of exceptionally dry weather followed by periods of heavy snow and rain, hopes for drought relief swiftly vanished.
It is still unclear whether the current trend in the state will be sufficient to counteract the ongoing drought as a large portion of California’s water comes from melting snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter months.
“Until the end of March, we won’t know if it will be a rainy or dry year. According to Lund, there is seldom any consistency from one month to the next. In California, where snow melts into reservoirs in May and June, April 1 is often the peak of the snowfall. However, that dynamic is shifting.
We’re typically seeing less snowfall than we’re used to, and it’s melting off faster and we’re seeing more evaporation off the watersheds, according to Lund, who added that this is due to the warmer temperature we’ve had over the last decade or so.
The U.S. Drought Monitor states that the majority of the state is still experiencing severe to exceptional drought.
A flood watch was in effect for the Los Angeles region as well as towns like Ojai and Oxnard. It was scheduled to start at 10 p.m. on Wednesday and remain until 4 p.m. on Thursday.
According to the meteorological service, excessive rain might result in floods, especially in burn scars and metropolitan areas. Mountains might get up to 8 inches of precipitation, compared to 2 to 4 inches in urban areas.
Phil Helsel and Evan Bush reported from Los Angeles, and Alicia Victoria Lozano and Phil Helsel from Seattle.