California pummeled by heavy rain amid another round of storms

California pummeled by heavy rain amid another round of storms

The latest in a series of powerful storm fronts driven by atmospheric rivers hit California again on Saturday, as the state continues to grapple with heavy rains and flooding that has caused extensive damage and forced thousands to evacuate.

At a news conference Saturday in Merced County, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the storms are to blame for at least 19 deaths.

A series of atmospheric rivers — long regions in the atmosphere that transport water — are responsible for the storms that have battered California since Dec. 26. Newsom on Saturday estimated that California has been hit by eight storm surges so far, with a ninth possible.

A pedestrian walks through storm debris on Capitola Beach in Capitola, California, on January 14, 2023. Nic Coury/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The governor also estimated that between 22 and 25 trillion liters of rain have fallen in the state since the storms began a few weeks ago.

“The bursting of these atmospheric rivers, the likes of which we have not experienced in our lifetime. The reality is that this is only the eighth of what we predict will be nine atmospheric rivers,” Newsom told reporters. “We’re not done. I know there comes a point in any challenging time where people are tired…I just pray for all of us to keep our vigilance, our common sense over the next 24 to 48 hours .”

Crews on Saturday were forced to suspend the search for a missing 5-year-old boy who was swept away by flooding Monday in San Marcos Creek near San Miguel due to rising water levels and unfavorable weather conditions, the office said. of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff. .

UPDATE: Search for missing 5-year-old Kyle Doan
Water levels continue to rise and weather conditions are unsuitable for any type of search activity today. The search decision will be made daily. The search will continue as weather and conditions permit.

— SLO County Sheriff (@SLOSheriff) January 14, 2023

Just over 22,200 customers in California were without power Saturday afternoon, according to the tracking website

Flood warnings have been issued for the region north of San Francisco Bay, including Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

To the south, warnings were posted for parts of counties including San Mateo and Santa Cruz, where the small community of Felton Grove along the San Lorenzo River was ordered to evacuate.

The swollen Salinas River flooded farmland in Monterey County and to the east, flood warnings were in effect for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley.

Pedestrians walk through floodwaters in Aptos, California, on January 14, 2023. Nic Coury/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Slick roads, snow and whiteout conditions plagued highways across the Sierra Nevada.

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Saturday morning that it received 21.3 inches of snow in 24 hours and that its nearly 10 feet of snow was expected to grow several more feet by Monday.

A back avalanche warning was issued for the central Sierra, including the greater Lake Tahoe area.

In Santa Barbara County, where a massive debris flow through the community of Montecito killed 23 people on January 9, 2018, residents were told that no new evacuations were expected but that they should prepare.

Montecito and surrounding areas were most recently ordered to evacuate last Monday, on the fifth anniversary of what is locally remembered as the “9/1 Debris Flow.” But the community located at the foot of the coastal mountains escaped serious damage.

Dry days are in the forecast next week for California starting Tuesday.

“The question will then be do we stay dry until the end of the month?” wrote the San Francisco Bay Area Weather Bureau.

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