California puts 25m people on flood alert as MORE ‘atmospheric rivers’ roll in

California puts 25m people on flood alert as MORE ‘atmospheric rivers’ roll in to inundate Golden State’s water-saturated soils as it attempts to recover from Bomb Cyclone

  • Two thirds of residents in California are under a flood warning as storms loom
  • California has been hit by ‘atmospheric rivers’ almost constantly since Dec 26
  • The storms have already claimed the lives of 19 people 
  • Around 70,000 people are without power in the Golden State 
  •  The areas bracing for the worst are Monterey County and Merced County in the northern part of the state

There is no end in sight for the catastrophic rainfall that has rocked California in recent days as more ‘atmospheric rivers’ head towards the Golden State with 25 million people, or two thirds of the state under a flood warning.

The storms come just as the state was beginning to recover from the recent Bomb Cyclone. 

The recent ‘atmospheric rivers’ have left at least 19 people dead, could cut off the peninsula of Monterrey in the northern part of the state as well as threatening the Salinas Valley, where 70 percent of lettuce in the US originates from. 

Bands of rain with gusty winds started in the north and spread south, with more storms expected to follow into early next week, the National Weather Service said.

A series of ‘atmospheric rivers’ rarely seen in such frequent succession have pounded the Golden State since Dec. 26.

A home on agricultural land is seen amid flooding from the Salinas River in Salinas, where 70 percent of the United States' lettuce is produced

A home on agricultural land is seen amid flooding from the Salinas River in Salinas, where 70 percent of the United States’ lettuce is produced

The Central Valley town of Planada was devastated by widespread flooding after a severe atmospheric river event moved through the area earlier in the week

The Central Valley town of Planada was devastated by widespread flooding after a severe atmospheric river event moved through the area earlier in the week

More than 68,000 utility customers were without electricity Saturday morning, a number that was cut by more than half during the afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.

Flood warnings were issued for the region north of San Francisco Bay, including Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

To the south, warnings were posted for parts of counties including San Mateo and Santa Cruz, where the tiny community of Felton Grove along the San Lorenzo River was ordered evacuated.

Trash cans were seen floating down streets, with water levels reaching stop signs and overtaking parked vehicles.

Some residents waded through floodwaters and mud to clean debris.

The swollen Salinas River swamped farmland in Monterey County, and to the east, flood warnings were in effect for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley, where Gov. Gavin Newsom visited to take stock of storm problems.

‘The reality is that this is just the eighth of what we anticipate will be nine atmospheric rivers — we’re not done,’ Newsom said at a briefing with local leaders where he urged people to be vigilant about safety for the next 24 to 48 hours.

‘This is happening all across California but I want to say … you guys are disproportionately taking the brunt of it, and if you feel that way you’re right,’ the California Democrat said. 

Newsom later said Saturday that he expected President Biden to sign a major disaster declaration to help the state respond to the emergency.

Hopland Volunteer Fire Department chief Mitch Franklin cuts away a large oak tree that fell on a vehicle, moderately injuring the driver on Old River Road, north of Hopland, California

Hopland Volunteer Fire Department chief Mitch Franklin cuts away a large oak tree that fell on a vehicle, moderately injuring the driver on Old River Road, north of Hopland, California

Residents work to push back wet mud that trapped cars and invaded some houses this week in the small unincorporated town of Piru, east of Fillmore, California

Residents work to push back wet mud that trapped cars and invaded some houses this week in the small unincorporated town of Piru, east of Fillmore, California

Christian Ibarra surfs in a flood at Fort Funston in San Francisco

Christian Ibarra surfs in a flood at Fort Funston in San Francisco

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

Slick roads, snow and whiteout conditions plagued highways through the Sierra Nevada.

A backcountry avalanche warning was issued for the central Sierra, including the greater Lake Tahoe area. 

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Saturday morning that it received 21.3 inches of snow in 24 hours and that its snowpack of about 10 feet was expected to grow several more feet by Monday.

The University of California at Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab said in a tweet on Saturday, ‘We’re expecting another 2-3 feet of snow by Monday morning, so much more to come!’

The Nicasio Reservoir is seen at 100 percent capacity following the 'atmospheric river' events

The Nicasio Reservoir is seen at 100 percent capacity following the ‘atmospheric river’ events

Farming equipment is seen submerged in floodwater after the Salinas River overflowed its banks on January 13

Farming equipment is seen submerged in floodwater after the Salinas River overflowed its banks on January 13

The storms have mitigated but not solved California's notorious drought problems

The storms have mitigated but not solved California’s notorious drought problems

The U.S. Drought Monitor revised on Thursday its assessment to lift virtually all of the state out of extreme drought or exceptional drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor revised on Thursday its assessment to lift virtually all of the state out of extreme drought or exceptional drought

At least 19 storm-related deaths have occurred, and a 5-year-old boy remained missing after being swept out of his mother’s car by flood waters in San Luis Obispo County

At least 19 storm-related deaths have occurred, and a 5-year-old boy remained missing after being swept out of his mother’s car by flood waters in San Luis Obispo County

A refrigerator is deposited among debris near a house flooded by the Salinas River near Chualar, California

A refrigerator is deposited among debris near a house flooded by the Salinas River near Chualar, California

A series of atmospheric rivers has dumped rain and snow on California since late December, cutting power to thousands, swamping roads, unleashing debris flows, and triggering landslides.

The storms have mitigated but not solved the region’s drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor revised on Thursday its assessment to lift virtually all of the state out of extreme drought or exceptional drought, the two worst categories, though much of it is still considered to be suffering moderate or severe drought.

At least 19 storm-related deaths have occurred, and a 5-year-old boy remained missing after being swept out of his mother’s car by flood waters in San Luis Obispo County.

A road crew worker monitors the flood waters from the Salinas River

A road crew worker monitors the flood waters from the Salinas River

A home in Salinas begins to become overwhelmed by the flood waters

A home in Salinas begins to become overwhelmed by the flood waters 

Water from recent storms, which has filled Lake Cachuma almost to its capacity and is prompting the first controlled water releases in ten years of an even longer drought to try to avoid flooding, rises against Bradbury Dam in Santa Barbara County

Water from recent storms, which has filled Lake Cachuma almost to its capacity and is prompting the first controlled water releases in ten years of an even longer drought to try to avoid flooding, rises against Bradbury Dam in Santa Barbara County

Half of the deaths have involved motorists, and some could have been prevented if drivers had heeded road closure signs, said Sean Duryee, acting commissioner of the California Highway Patrol

Half of the deaths have involved motorists, and some could have been prevented if drivers had heeded road closure signs, said Sean Duryee, acting commissioner of the California Highway Patrol

The swollen Salinas River swamped farmland in Monterey County, and to the east, flood warnings were in effect for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley, where Gov. Gavin Newsom visited to take stock of storm problems

The swollen Salinas River swamped farmland in Monterey County, and to the east, flood warnings were in effect for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley, where Gov. Gavin Newsom visited to take stock of storm problems

Kyle Doan was being driven to school by his mother, Lindsay, on Monday when they got trapped on a flooded road. The boy’s parents maintain that there was no warning about the road. 

Lindsay said that she rushed to get her son out of the car as they became overwhelmed by the waters. She says that by the time she could get out of the car, her son had been taken down the creek close to the town of San Miguel. 

The new storms has resulted in the search for Doan being suspended.  

Half of the deaths have involved motorists, and some could have been prevented if drivers had heeded road closure signs, said Sean Duryee, acting commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, during a briefing by state and federal officials on Friday.

A farmer tends to a pump in a flooded field next to the Salinas River near Chualar

A farmer tends to a pump in a flooded field next to the Salinas River near Chualar

Local residents pick up sandbags in order to protect their homes from further flooding in Merced, California

 Local residents pick up sandbags in order to protect their homes from further flooding in Merced, California

A USPS delivery woman is seen on California Street in San Francisco on January 11

A USPS delivery woman is seen on California Street in San Francisco on January 11

A utility pole lays in floodwaters after the Salinas River broke its banks

A utility pole lays in floodwaters after the Salinas River broke its banks 

A greenhouse is seen submerged in the Salinas River's waters

A greenhouse is seen submerged in the Salinas River’s waters 

In Santa Barbara County, where a massive debris flow through the community of Montecito killed 23 people on Jan. 9, 2018, residents were told that new evacuations were not expected but that they should be prepared.

Montecito and adjacent areas were most recently ordered evacuated last Monday, the fifth anniversary of what is locally remembered as the 1/9 Debris Flow. But the community perched on foothills of coastal mountains escaped serious harm.

In a visit to Montecito on Friday, Newsom asked residents to exercise caution, and to heed warnings from public safety officials.

‘I know how fatigued you all are. Just maintain a little more vigilance over the course of the next weekend,’ Newsom said. 

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