When Will California Get Relief From Storms? Not This Week
(Bloomberg) — Rescuers have been working to save people trapped in cars and homes as California faces another week of severe flooding from a series of storms rolling across the Pacific Ocean.
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The San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz County, about 75 miles (120 km) south of San Francisco, rose 17.7 feet (5.4 meters) as of Sunday after heavy rain and towns across the area were flooded. Levels in the river may have peaked, but there will be another round of heavy rain later, said Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Emergency shelters are open at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds and Cabrillo College, the county said in a tweet. In addition, evacuations were ordered in nearby communities.
Heavy rain began falling Sunday evening in many regions, and more than 137,000 people are without power mainly in northern and central California, according to PowerOutage.us. That’s down from more than 500,000 on Sunday after an earlier storm over the weekend.
The new storm could drop 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of rain in some areas and 1 to 4 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range in Eastern California, said Ashton Robinson Cook, a forecaster at USA. Prediction Center. Wind gusts could reach up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour in many places.
“There’s been quite a bit of rain across most of the state,” Robinson Cook said. And the storm has just begun. “There will be another round of heavier rain tomorrow.”
Read more: California faces weeks of rain, thanks to system stuck in the sky
The storm is another in a series of atmospheric river events, long streams of moisture that can stretch for thousands of miles across the Pacific and then deliver enough water to flow through the mouth of the Mississippi River when they are distributed over the mountains of California. . The storms have already caused more than $1 billion in loss and damage, according to an estimate by AccuWeather Inc. Governor. Gavin Newsom said violent weather has led to 12 deaths since late December.
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President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration in California.
Sacramento officials ordered the evacuation of areas near where joints were blown in the New Year’s storm.
“This is just the middle of what has been a really wet and active pattern,” Swain said on a call with reporters.
Snow will fall from the foothills in the Sierra Nevada, and a large area of the mountains could see a 1-in-50-year event, according to Enki Research.
As terrible as the rain and snow have been, there have been storms in the past that have been worse, Swain said. “This is not at the top of what is credible in this part of the world,” he said.
Swain said his research shows that with climate change there could be even stronger storms that could flood large areas of California’s Central Valley in the future. The paleo record has also shown evidence of mega floods in California in the distant past.
For the current storm, with the snow falling so quickly and large amounts already in the mountains, the risk of avalanches is increasing, Robinson Cook said.
In addition to rain and wind, there’s also a marginal chance for severe storms along coastal areas south of San Francisco, potentially bringing more damaging winds and short-lived tornadoes, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center.
The system will continue to develop through Tuesday, and another atmospheric river is expected to descend on Thursday and Friday. The pattern that is sending storm after storm to the West Coast probably won’t begin to break up until the middle of next week.
–With assistance from David R. Baker.
(Updates first three paragraphs with current terms.)
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