The latest in a series of powerful storm fronts being driven pastCalifornia struck again on Saturday as the state continued to grapple with heavy rain and flooding that caused widespread damage and forced thousands to evacuate.
In a news conference Saturday in Merced County, Calif., Gov. said Gavin Newsomare responsible for at least 19 deaths.
A series of atmospheric flows — long regions in the atmosphere that carry water — are responsible for the storms that have battered California since December. 26. Newsom Saturday estimated California has been hit by eight atmospheric flows so far, with a ninth possible.
The governor appreciated that tooRain has fallen on the state since the storms began a few weeks ago.
“The stacking of these atmospheric flows like we’ve never experienced in our lives. The reality is that this will only be the eighth of nine predicted atmospheric fluxes,” Newsom told reporters. “We are not finished yet. I know that in every challenging time there comes a point when people get tired… I just pray to all of us that in the next 24 to 48 hours we stay alert, use common sense.”
President Biden issued a disaster declaration for California late Saturday night. Among other things, the declaration will make federal funds available to residents and businesses in Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties to fund recovery efforts such as home repairs. The aid can consist of grants or loans.
Crews were forced to stop searching for one on Saturday
Just over 26,000 customers in California were without power as of Saturday afternoon, according to the outage tracking website power failure.us.
Flood warnings have been issued for the region north of San Francisco Bay, including Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
Warnings have been issued for parts of counties like San Mateo and Santa Cruz, where the tiny community of Felton Grove on the San Lorenzo River has been ordered to be evacuated. An evacuation order was also issued for residents of the Wilton area of semirural southeast Sacramento County. Authorities pointed to the risk of flooding from the Cosumnes River.
“Flooding is imminent,” the Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Office said tweeted.
Residents in several parts of San Benito County, south of San Jose, have also been ordered to evacuate.
The swollen Salinas River flooded farmland in Monterey County, and to the east, flood warnings were in place for Merced County in the agricultural Central Valley.
Slippery roads, snow and whiteout conditions plagued highways through the Sierra Nevada.
The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab tweeted Saturday morning that it had received 21.3 inches of snow in 24 hours and that its snowpack is expected to grow several feet from about 10 feet through Monday.
A backcountry avalanche warning has been issued for the central Sierra, including the greater Lake Tahoe area.
In Santa Barbara County, where a massive debris flow through the Montecito community on January 23 killed 23 people. On September 2018, residents were told that no new evacuations were expected, but that they should be prepared.
Montecito and adjacent areas were last evacuated last Monday, the fifth anniversary of what is locally remembered as “1/9 Debris Flow.” But the community, perched on the foothills of the coastal mountains, escaped serious damage.
Dry days are forecast for California next week starting Tuesday.
“Question is then, until we stay dry until the end of the month?” The San Francisco Bay Area Weather Bureau wrote.