The latest in a continuous string of storms continued to swamp roadways, pummel coasts with high surf, convert rivers into gushing flood zones, and force the evacuation of thousands of residents in towns with a history of deadly mudslides in California early on Tuesday.
Since the storms started last week, at least 14 people have died.
After dropping up to 14 inches (36 centimeters) of rain at higher elevations in central and Southern California on Monday, the storm was predicted to send significant snow to the Sierra Nevada on Tuesday.
Adding to the agony and further soaking areas already at risk of flooding and debris flows, another storm was predicted to crash into the state starting Wednesday after a brief respite.
More than 200,000 homes and businesses were without power early on Tuesday as a result of the storms, according to the website poweroutage.us, which follows utility reports and endangered coastal and riverbank areas.
The whole San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento Valley, and Monterey Bay were all under a flood watch from the weather service through Tuesday.
Mud and debris could slide from slopes denuded by recent wildfires that have not yet fully recovered their protective layer of vegetation in certain areas.
Forecasters predicted that the storm, the first extreme weather event of 2023, will bring enough rain to exacerbate current flooding and increase the risk of mudslides.
The storm’s peak wind gusts in southwestern California could reach 60 mph (97 kph), and some locations might get half-inch (13 millimeters) per hour of rainfall.
After two persons, including a homeless person, were killed by falling trees on Monday, the number of fatalities from the storms that started last week rose from 12 to 14.
Late Monday night, California traffic authorities reported that particular state and federal routes were closed due to flooding, mudslides, heavy snow, car spinouts, and truck accidents.
A significant coastal road, U.S. 101’s northbound lanes, and stretches of U.S. 6 and State Route 168 were also closed.
About 32,000 people in Santa Cruz County who live close to rivers and creeks flooded by rain have been given evacuation orders.
Drone footage showed multiple residences resting in dirty brown water with the top halves of cars peeking out as the San Lorenzo River was reported to be at flood stage.
— Emre BALLI (@emreballi1) January 9, 2023