‘Disastrous flooding’ warning in California as another storm hits – World

‘Disastrous flooding’ warning in California as another storm hits – World


‘Catastrophic flood’ warning for California as another storm hits

Catastrophic flooding could hit parts of California this weekend, forecasters warned Friday.

January 14, 2023 8:07 am

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Catastrophic flooding could hit parts of California this weekend, forecasters warned Friday, as the eighth storm in a row blew through, with already waterlogged land unable to absorb any more rain.

The US’s most populous state has been hit by near-record rainfall during three very wet weeks that have already caused flooding, landslides and widespread power outages.

At least 19 people are known to have died as communities struggled to cope with the ongoing flooding.

On Friday, another system threatened the state, with forecasters warning that the Monterey Peninsula could be cut off and the entire city of Salinas, home to 160,000 people, flooded.

“The entire lower Salinas Valley will experience catastrophic flooding,” the National Weather Service said.

“The entire city of Salinas is at risk of flooding. Most of Castroville will be flooded. All roads near the Salinas River will be flooded and impassable. 90,000 acres or more of farmland in the Salinas Valley will have catastrophic floods.

“Many roads, homes and areas of farmland in the Salinas Valley will have extensive flood damage.”

The Salinas River, already swollen from weeks of torrential rain, was expected to crest Friday, breaking its banks in a flood that could last into Sunday.

Evacuation orders and warnings were widespread, with forecasters saying major roads could become impassable — including highways connecting the Monterey Peninsula to the rest of the county.

“Residents in both the Peninsula and Salinas area should expect to be out for two to three days,” Monterey County officials said earlier this week.

Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto told reporters Thursday that residents were being warned they could be trapped by floodwaters.

“This is a slow-moving event” and not all countries will be affected immediately, she said.

“The banks of the river rise at different times.”

The string of storms has workers rushing out during breaks in the rain to clean up the mess before the next flood hits.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were left without power at various times as infrastructure was hit.

And it’s not over yet, forecasters say.

“Continued unsettled weather in the West, associated with an active atmospheric river pattern, unfortunately continues this weekend with several more rounds of heavy rainfall forecast,” the NWS said.

Over the mountains that was turning into snow, with more than three feet (one meter) expected over the weekend in the Sierra Nevada range, making travel dangerous or impossible.

Winter storms are not uncommon in California, where most of the annual rain falls in a fairly concentrated period.

But global warming, fueled by industrial-scale use of fossil fuels, is fueling storms, making them wetter and wilder.

At the same time, the western United States is drying up, with much of the region in its 23rd year of drought.

Hydrologists say the recent rains are helping — California has received an average of almost nine inches (23 centimeters) of rain since late December — but they’re not a solution.

“A few weeks of storms is not enough in this drought for California, but it’s certainly good. It’s certainly taking a good hit,” Jay Lund, director of the University of California, Davis, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

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