More than 9,000 California residents were under evacuation orders Friday as a new atmospheric river brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds, swelling rivers and creeks and flooding several major highways and small rural communities.
In Santa Cruz County, a creek bloated by rain destroyed a portion of Main Street in Soquel, a town of 10,000 people, isolating several neighbourhoods. Crews were working to remove trees and other debris and find a way for people to cross the creek, county officials said.
Evacuations were ordered in nearby Watsonville where creek water spilled over and filled roadways with several feet of water, threatening dozens of homes with flooding. At one home, chickens inside a backyard coop perched on a bar near the roof to avoid the water. In central California, the Tule River overflowed its banks and flooded several homes.
Evacuation orders were ordered for other areas of the county, including parts of the small community of Cutler because of a levee break and areas of Exeter because a creek overflowed its banks. There were also flash floods in Kernville, another foothill town in Kern County.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, flooding blocked portions of several major highways, including Interstate 580 in Oakland, disrupting travel. And Peets Coffee, a California-based chain, reported that after a heavy storm, an investigation is underway to determine the cause of a roof collapse that killed a worker at a distribution centre leased by the company in Oakland.
The storm marked the states 10th atmospheric river of the winter, storms that have brought enormous amounts of rain and snow to the state and helped lessen the drought conditions that had dragged on for three years.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared emergencies in 34 counties in recent weeks, and the Biden administration approved a presidential disaster declaration for some on Friday morning, a move that will bring more federal assistance into the state.
Emergency officials have warned people to stay off the roads if they can and to carefully heed flash flood warnings. Despite record rainfall in January, Newsom worried it would stop raining and asked state water regulators to temporarily suspend some environmental rules to let the state take more water out of rivers and streams to store for later.
Forecasters warned that mountain travel could be difficult to impossible during the latest storm. At high elevations, the storm was predicted to dump heavy snow, as much as 8 feet 2. 4 meters over several days.
Yet another atmospheric river is already in the forecast for early next week. State climatologist Michael Anderson said a third appeared to be taking shape over the Pacific and possibly a fourth.
Kumud Sharma is the First Well-Known Female Journalist of the Journalism World of Himachal Pradesh. I am the Founder, Editor in Chief, Managing Director, Promoter of Diary Times. As a Female Journalist, With My Experience of More Than Nine Years, I Tell You Every News of Himachal Pradesh From The Ground Level With Absolutely Accurate and Correct Information, Be it the Politics of Himachal Pradesh or the Ground Reality, My Perspective On Every News Will Give You Assurance. I Assure You That Every News of Mine Will Comply With the Expertise and Fact Checking Policy.