More rain is on the way for storm-battered California, where storms have flooded communities and left 19 dead



Storm-ravaged California — still reeling from weeks of deadly flooding, mudslides and rescue efforts — is being hit with more rainfall this weekend.

A relentless series of atmospheric rivers — long, narrow regions of the atmosphere that can carry moisture for thousands of miles — have turned communities into lakes, paralyzed highways and caused thousands of evacuations, including earlier this week. At least 19 people have died as a result of the storms.

Two more are smashing across the state this weekend.

“This is not over yet; we must remain vigilant. Stay safe, make the necessary preparations and limit non-essential travel,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Floods, landslides and storms don’t matter who you are or where you live – they will affect you anyway. We have lost too much – too many people to these storms and in these waters.”

More than 8 million people were under flood watch Saturday night along much of California’s central coastline, as well as the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys.

There is a marginal risk of excessive rainfall along the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego, as well as the mountain ranges of Southern California, where up to 2 inches of extra rainfall could lead to flooding and mudslides, the National Weather Service said.

Residents of Monterey County, on California’s Central Coast, were ordered Saturday afternoon to evacuate low-lying areas of the Carmel River. Sacramento County officials ordered residents of the Wilton area to flee — again — because of an expected rise in the Cosumnes River.

“People are tired of evacuation orders. People are tired seeing those Caltrans ‘diversion’ signs — they’re just generally tired,” Newsom said, speaking from a flood evacuation shelter at the Merced County Fairgrounds.

President Joe Biden on Saturday approved California’s request for a disaster declaration, releasing federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in parts of the state hit by storms, floods and mudslides since Dec. 27, the White House said.

“This federal aid is key to recovery efforts so Californians can get back on their feet faster,” Newsom said in a statement. tweet Biden for approving the statement.

The first system of the weekend arrived on the California coast Saturday afternoon and was expected to move inland, bringing heavy rainfall across the state “like another wave of Pacific moisture ahead of the main cold front,” according to the National Weather Service.

Lighter rainfall is expected to continue Sunday morning before another “ramp-up” late Sunday into Monday morning ahead of a second system, the weather service said.

The new round of heavy rainfall comes after many areas already received 50% to 70% of the amount of precipitation they would normally receive in a full year in 16 days.

San Francisco has recorded one of the top 15 wettest winters on record.

Newsom said it had been just weeks since authorities in Southern California extended a drought emergency to millions of residents. Now the state is flooded with rain.

“According to some estimates, 22 to 25 trillion liters of water have fallen over the course of the past 16-17 days – stacking of these atmospheric rivers as we have not experienced in our lifetime,” said the governor. “The reality is that this is only the eighth of what we expect to be nine atmospheric rivers.”

While this weekend’s precipitation totals will be less than previous storms, the threshold for flooding is now much lower as the ground in many areas is too saturated to absorb any more water.

“The challenges are going to be quite acute over the course of the next few days, especially as everything is saturated, especially as the terrain is overwhelmed.” Newsom said. “What may seem less important in terms of rainfall may actually be more important in terms of ground impact and flooding and debris flow.”

Widespread rainfall through Monday ranges from 2 to 3 inches along the coast and inland valleys, with 4 to 6 inches possible for the San Francisco Bay Area and nearby Santa Cruz and Santa Lucia mountains. This is likely to lead to a few instances of flooding, as well as mud, rocks, and landslides.

River flooding is also a major problem, particularly around the Russian River in Northern California and the Salinas River near Monterey.

Monterey County officials warned this week that flooding from the rising Salinas River could turn the area into an island and cut it off from essential services.

To the east, in Merced County, crews scrambled to place rocks in the Bear Creek area before the storm arrived, worried that high tides would continue to erode the levee and eventually lead to levee failure in downtown Merced.

National Guard troops, sheriff's office workers and firefighters search Thursday near San Miguel, California for missing 5-year-old Kyle Doan.

Rescue workers are resuming their search for 5-year-old Kyle Doan, who was pulled from his mother’s hands by rushing water Monday after being hampered by the storm Saturday, the San Luis Obispo sheriff’s department said.

Water and weather conditions improved enough on Sunday afternoon for the search to continue. Continued monitoring of the river, as well as surrounding floodwaters in San Miguel, has shown a drop in water levels and will allow crews to search new areas, the sheriff’s department said.

The child and his mother were on their way to school on Monday when water flooded their SUV. The mother managed to get Kyle out of his car seat and held him down, but their hands slipped and they were separated.

The mother was later safely removed from the water. But Kyle has not been found.

Members of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team and California Highway Patrol air units searched for the boy. National Guard troops were previously involved in the search, but have since been released from the mission.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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