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HomenewsMore Flooding in California Caused by Powerful Storm

More Flooding in California Caused by Powerful Storm

Sacramento— California braced for another severe storm on Wednesday morning as bands of rain surged across the state. Forecasters predicted additional flooding, landslides, and damaging winds just days after another “atmospheric river” pounded the West Coast.

Rainfall like that forecast over the next two days usually has little impact. Forecasters said the weekend’s rain-soaked California’s ground like a sponge, leaving it more vulnerable to flooding and quick runoff.

In a state that has become increasingly vulnerable to droughts and wildfires, officials up and down the coast are prepared for another round of deluges.

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Statewide storm prep was underway. San Francisco ran out of sandbags on Wednesday morning. City officials predicted more later in the day.
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Strong wind gusts threatened to collapse trees in Northern California parks, closing them.

Southern California was under flood watches and warnings from Wednesday evening to Thursday north of San Francisco. Strong gusts and thunderstorms were expected with slow-starting rain on Wednesday.
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“Don’t relax,” the weather service advised.

Meteorologists warned of water, toppled trees, power outages, and road closures. Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that the state’s operations center was at its highest emergency level Wednesday.

Watsonville, a flood-prone city south of San Francisco, was ordered to evacuate Tuesday night. San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and San Jose declared local emergencies.

Sacramento homes prepared for more power outages and flooded streets Wednesday morning as projections called for up to 3 inches of rain in a region that was already flooded on New Year’s Eve.

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“I’m here to get torches and batteries,” said 64-year-old Carmichael resident Ramona Saunders.

“I’m simply wandering up and down the aisles because I feel like maybe I’ve forgotten something important,” she said.

Saunders, a retired government worker, was terrified that the maple in her front yard would fall after a California pepper tree outside her house fell in the New Year’s Eve storm.

“I keep thinking, ‘Please don’t let this be the storm,’” she added. “I don’t want the 6 o’clock news.”

Many kids in flood-prone San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, were told to leave early Wednesday and not return Thursday. Due to extreme weather, South San Francisco Unified and San Mateo Union High School Districts canceled Thursday classes.

According to the National Weather Service, the new storm will deliver up to 4 inches of rain to California’s inland valleys and gusts of 60 to 80 mph to the coastal hills.

Mountain snowfall is also predicted. The storm that pummelled drought-stricken California had a bright lining: water officials said Tuesday that the statewide snowpack was 174% of average.

The Department of Water Resources says 30% of the state’s water comes from Sierra Nevada snowfall. Snowy mountain caps store water until it melts in warmer months, replenishing the state’s rivers and reservoirs.

Despite the forecasted rain, water experts advise residents to conserve. In 2021, substantial December snowfall gave way to the driest January, February, and March on record, leaving Californians to navigate increasingly grave warnings and water-use restrictions throughout the summer.

California needs a wet winter, but huge storms can cause damage and disruption.

“This is a prime example of the possibility of catastrophic floods during a lengthy drought as California faces increasing swings between rainy and dry seasons brought on by our changing climate,” said water department director Karla Nemeth.

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Meteorologists forecast atmospheric rivers—channels of tropical Pacific Ocean moisture—to continue through mid-January. The Bay Area weather service advised resiliency Wednesday morning.

California’s drought-stricken agriculture has benefited from heavy rain and snow. “This is really a gift, just to see these storms coming up and striking California dead-on,” said Don Cameron, whose 8,500-acre Terranova Ranch farms fruit in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

The state’s swelling waters have also flooded streets and residences. Downtown San Francisco, a storm-prone area, was still emptying Wednesday.

At least five people died in a West Coast atmospheric river on December 26. After snowing in Utah and Arizona, another storm system saturated California before barreling east through the country Tuesday, unleashing powerful tornadoes, thunderstorms, and flooding in the Plains, Upper Midwest, and South.

The meteorological service predicted the storm would weaken by Wednesday night as it moved east. Saturday and Monday will bring severe rain to California.

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