U.S.

California inundated with more rain, snow and wind


FELTON, Calif., Jan 14 (Reuters) – A new weather system packing rain, snow and strong winds moved into storm-battered California on Saturday, the latest in a parade of atmospheric rivers that have wreaked havoc on the state in recent weeks.

While next week should bring some respite, the first of two systems expected to hit California over the U.S. holiday weekend pushed dry Saturday, unleashing more heavy rain, the National Weather Service said.

Atmospheric rivers rare in such frequent succession have struck the Golden State since Dec. 26, killing at least 19 people and bringing flooding, power outages, mudslides, evacuations and road closures.

More than 24,000 utility customers were without power as of Saturday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.

The storms dropped half of the average annual precipitation in the agricultural Central Valley and up to 15 feet (4.5 m) of snow in the mountains.

Flood warnings were in effect across the state Saturday, and thousands of residents received evacuation orders and warnings.

A neighborhood in the Santa Cruz County community of Felton in central California flooded for the second time in a week and the third time since the beginning of the year.

Residents banded together, helping each other with shovels and squeegees to clean garages and driveways.

“It’s gross,” said Caitlin Clancy, 36, as she shoveled mud from her driveway. “And to go through it a third time, it’s just overwhelming.”

Sacramento County issued an evacuation order for Wilton and other areas that suffered severe flooding during the New Year’s storm.

A levee breach in the Bear Creek area of ​​Merced in the San Joaquin Valley flooded homes and stranded livestock, according to local media, as officials worked to prevent high water from overflowing.

At least seven waterways are officially flooded, the California Department of Water Resources said Friday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters Saturday that he expects President Joe Biden to sign a major disaster declaration to help the state respond to the emergency.

“These weather events have claimed more lives in the last two years than wildfires,” Newsom said at a news conference Saturday. “That’s how deadly they are.”

In the Sierra Nevada mountains, heavy snow and high winds brought whiteout conditions to some areas, leading to road closures.

Snowfall in the Sierras topped 21 inches as of Saturday morning, with about 10 feet already on the ground and several more expected, according to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab.

Storms in California eased but did not resolve the region’s drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday revised its assessment to take almost the entire state out of extreme drought or extreme drought, the two worst categories, although much of it is still considered to be suffering from moderate or severe drought.

Reporting by Nathan Frandino in Felton, Calif., Maria Caspani in New York and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, Calif.; Editing by Clarence Fernandes, Deepa Babington and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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