By Naveen Athrappully
At least a dozen people in California have died and over 100,000 across the state are suffering outages as the region battles heavy storms, which forecasters predict will continue in the coming days.
On Sunday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 12 people had died over the past 10 days in the state owing to extreme weather, with at least two people being killed on Sunday.
By the evening of Jan. 8, almost 3,000 people had been evacuated in Northern California, with roughly 200 staying in shelters.
California, which had already declared a state of emergency, requested a presidential emergency declaration on Sunday.
A storm had hit early Saturday morning and brought moderate rainfall to some coastal neighborhoods. A bomb cyclone, or a hurricane-force low-pressure system, and an atmospheric river, or an immense airborne stream of moisture from the ocean, have resulted in record snowfall and devastating floods in the past week.
By Monday morning, 116,797 customers in California had lost power, according to Poweroutage.us.
In Sacramento County, 43,561 customers were without power. This number stood at 9,060 in San Joaquin County, 9,087 in Yolo County, and 8.809 in Mendocino County.
More Storms Coming
California is likely to see more storms this week.
“We’re expecting another round of serious winter storms to hit tonight. Strong winds. Heavy rain,” Newsom said in a Jan. 8 Twitter post.
“We’re in close contact with the @WhiteHouse to ensure we have the aid we need as we prepare on the ground. Listen to warnings from local officials and stay safe.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast the first of the heavier storms to hit on Monday and issued a flood watch for certain regions in Central and Northern California. Through Wednesday, 6 to 12 inches of rain is expected in the Sacramento area foothills.
In Los Angeles, Monday is expected to see stormy conditions, with foothills potentially receiving eight inches of rain. High surf is expected on Tuesday. In a storm update on Sunday, Newsom warned the state’s citizens to expect “very intense weather” and the worst of the storm over the next 48 hours, according to USA Today.
On Sunday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed apprehension about the weather and said that the city had cleared thousands of storm drains and hundreds of trees to prepare for the coming storms.
“Today we are gearing up for the next wave of storms and urging all of those still outdoors to please go to a respite center or at least get to higher ground away from trees and bodies of water,” he said, according to The Washington Post.
Heavy Rain, Floods
In its Jan. 9–11 forecast, the NWS warned that the cumulative effect of heavy rainfall events in California will lead to “additional instances of flooding.”
This includes rapid water rises, the potential for major river flooding, and mudslides. NWS issued a Moderate Risk of Excessive Rainfall alert for most of central California on Monday.
“As moisture continues to sink southward on Monday night and another push of rainfall enters on Tuesday, flash flooding is increasingly likely over the southern California coastal ranges through early this week. Susceptible terrain and areas near recent burn scars will be most at risk for debris flows and rapid runoff,” the weather service said.
In the higher terrains of Sierra Nevada, “extremely heavy snow and intense snowfall rates” are expected, which could make traveling dangerous and even impossible at times. Some roads might be closed.