Atmospheric river causes power outages, flooding and landslides in Southern California

Flooding, blizzards wreak havoc in California

Flooding, heavy snowfall hit storm-weary California.


Southern California residents weary of a storm-soaked winter were hit Wednesday by the season’s 11th storm surge, flooding roads, landslides and flooding. Fallen trees across the state.

California has been hit by a series of atmospheric river, Which can cause extreme flooding when these weather phenomena fall from the ground and release stored water vapor. Flooding closed several miles of the Pacific Coast Highway through Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles, on the Orange County coast. A late-night mudslide trapped two cars on a road in the Baldwin Hills area of ​​Los Angeles County. KNBC-TV reported.. Another hill in the neighborhood also gave way, threatening the foundation of the hilltop house.

California tornadoes
Crews assess damage from a tornado that washed out North Main Street Friday, March 10, 2023, in Soqual, Calif.

Nick Coury/AP

Across the state, more than 135,000 utility customers remained without power early Wednesday, according to a power outage tracking website. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday issued emergency declarations for three more counties, bringing the total to 43 of the state’s 58 counties. Statewide, about 27,000 people remained under evacuation orders and more than 61,000 were warned to prepare to evacuate due to the effects of the weather, according to the California Office of Emergency Services. 676 people were housed in emergency shelters on Tuesday night.

California was deep in drought before an unexpected series of atmospheric rivers swept through the state from late December to mid-January, flooding the Sierra Nevada with a surprising snowpack. While only 17% of storms on the West Coast are caused by atmospheric rivers, they contribute 30% to 50% of California’s rainfall. According to A study by NASA. They also contribute to 40% of the Sierra snowpack, and more than 80% of the state’s major floods, according to a NASA study.

A powerful storm surge burst a levee on the Pajaro River last week, prompting evacuations as water flooded fields and agricultural communities. About half of the people under evacuation orders were in Monterey County. The first phase of repairs on the 400-foot levee break was completed Tuesday afternoon and crews were working to raise the section to full height, county officials said.

Flood warnings remain in effect for the Salinas and Pajaro rivers on the Central Coast, despite the end of the California rains. Monterey County And as other rivers in the central valley, water is flowing from the ground, which has been filled with storms since late December.

Reporting contributed by Caitlin O’Kane

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