Storm brings more rain, wind, and snow to California
Storm-battered California saw more wind, rain and snow on Saturday, raising concerns about flooding, causing power outages and making travel dangerous.
Bands of rain and strong winds started in the north and spread south, with more storms expected to follow early next week, the National Weather Service said.
More than 68,000 utility customers were without power Saturday morning, a number that was cut by more than half during the afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.
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. An evacuation order was also issued for residents of the Wilton area in semi-eastern Sacramento County. Authorities cited the threat of flooding from the Cosumnes River.
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, where Gov. Gavin Newsom visited to take stock of the storm’s problems.
“The reality is that this is only the eighth of what we anticipate will be nine atmospheric rivers — we’re not done,” Newsom said at a briefing with local leaders where he urged people to be vigilant about safety for the next 24 to 48 hour.
“This is happening all over California, but I mean … you guys are taking the brunt of it disproportionately, and if you think so you’re right,” Newsom said.
President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state and ordered federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts in affected areas.
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 (54 centimeters) of snow in 24 hours and that its nearly 10 feet (3 meters) 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.
A series of atmospheric rivers have dumped rain and snow on California since late December, knocking out power to thousands, flooding roads, unleashing debris flows and triggering landslides.
At least 19 storm-related deaths have occurred, and a 5-year-old boy remains missing after being pulled from his mother’s car by flooding in San Luis Obispo County.
Half of the deaths involved motorists, and some could have been prevented if drivers had heeded road closure signs, said Sean Duryee, acting commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, during a conference call by state and federal officials. Friday.
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.
In a visit to Montecito on Friday, Newsom urged residents to be cautious and heed warnings from public safety officials.
“I know how tired you all are,” Newsom said. “Just be a little more vigilant over the coming weekend.”
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.