California water officials say they are prepared for record flooding as rain continues

California water officials say they are prepared for record flooding as rain continues

California water officials warned of the possibility of record flooding in some areas as rain is expected to continue pounding the state next week.

Speaking to reporters through a zoom Saturday evening, Department of Water Resources officials stressed the state’s readiness for a second storm surge that is expected to bring more power outages to residents still recovering from last week’s flooding. .

Last week’s storm brought a combination of high winds and flooding across the Bay Area and Northern California, leaving thousands without power, downing trees and displacing residents from their homes.

As of Friday night, approximately 36,000 Bay Area PG&E customers remained without power, with some facing another week before restoration is possible. Areas like unincorporated Annapolis in Sonoma County will be without power until Jan. 13, the utility said. The intense weather conditions have made it difficult for crews to restore power due to access challenges from downed trees, flooding and road closures.

And yet there is more to come. Michael Anderson, the state’s climatologist, said Californians can expect the impending string of storms to last through Jan. 19. Areas including San Francisco and Sacramento should expect between 6 and 8 inches of rain between Sunday and January 13, the second part of the year’s five storm surges California is expected to receive this month.

Anderson added that 15 locations across the state are predicted to reach flood stage, with another 30 locations predicted to be in the flood watch stage. Multiple locations could see record flooding, officials said.

The combination of a stronger storm and the second atmospheric river will bring more moderate to heavy rain to the Bay Area, Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Díaz said, as well as strong 30 to 40 mph gusts to the Peninsula and parts of San Francisco through most of Monday. . Rain and winds will subside by Monday night, and drier conditions are expected on Tuesday, Díaz said.

Despite the remaining river storms ahead, there is no concern that the dams will overflow, according to Jeanine Jones, drought manager for the California Department of Water Resources. Flood control requirements keep reservoirs well below their full capacity to make room for rainfall during California’s wet season, from November to March, when the state typically receives about half of its annual rainfall.

“Right now, we still have a lot of capacity in the system to manage flooding,” Jones said. “If it rained for a month straight, we would certainly be in a different situation.”

Officials warned residents to stay updated on emergency alerts that state or local agencies may issue and to prepare bags in case of evacuation orders.

Jordan Parker (he/him) is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @jparkerwrites

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