A storm in California knocked out power for half a million peopleThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The majority of outages were reported in Sacramento County, where strong winds toppled trees and power lines. Sacramento International Airport recorded a gust of 70 mph.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District tweeted that it is “working as safely and quickly as possible to restore power.”
Sacramento County urged people to leave the Wilton area because of “impending” flood Sunday morning.
In the Bay Area Mines Tower in Alameda, at an elevation of 2,932 feet, registered 99 mph gustwhile a gust at the Richardson East weather station, at an elevation of 1,109 feet, hit 85 mph.
South of San Francisco in Santa Cruz, Mayor Fred Keeley (D) said city workers are on alert and prepared for water rescue operations, but he is most concerned about keeping infrastructure functioning, including storm sewers, storm drains and the gutters. He said in an interview that Santa Cruz is willing to use a National Guard armory to house up to 500 people experiencing homelessness and provide tents for those who prefer to live outside.
Keely said his city and state have a “front line on climate change” and the devastation it brings.
The state has responded as best it can, he said, but Washington has not caught up.
“Lagging behind as usual,” Keely said. “The federal government is stuck in what I would call an old-school FEMA response to things, as opposed to organizing the Army Corps of Engineers and starting to look forward to what we need to do.”
FEMA did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment.
Michael Anderson, state climatologist with the California Department of Water Resources, said during a briefing Saturday that the series of storms began Dec. 27 and is expected to last through Jan. 19. The storm expected Monday and Tuesday is the second of five, he said, “and also the one that has our biggest concerns right now.”
Forecast models disagree about the strength and location of the third, fourth and fifth storms, Anderson said. “But,” he added, “we have an indication that there is something there.”
Like its predecessors, the incoming storm is an intense atmospheric river or band of deep tropical moisture. It is expected to flood low-lying areas in the region, cause surf on beaches and bring heavy snow and winds in excess of 100 mph near mountain peaks.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. PT to discuss the storm, according to his office.
The National Weather Service urged residents to follow local forecasts, avoid driving through flooded roads and have an emergency evacuation kit and plan ready.
“The duration and intensity of the rains, combined with the cumulative effect of back-to-back heavy rains dating back to late December, will result in widespread and potentially significant flooding impacts,” the weather service wrote in a discussion Sunday.
In California’s central valley and near the coast, 2 to 4 inches of rain are likely, while the foothills could see up to 9 inches by Wednesday. Flood watches are in place over most of central and northern California, along with wind advisories warning of gusts in excess of 40 to 50 mph.
The state has been drenched in rain in recent weeks. Atmospheric river drenched Northern and central California on New Year’s Eve, power outages and some people stranded in flooded cars.
In 13 days, San Francisco has accumulated 11.16 inches, the wettest stretch on record in the city since 1871. On December 31 alone, 5.46 inches of rain fell, the second wettest calendar day on record since record keeping began in 1849 .
“All major rivers are expected to be near or above flood stage by Monday afternoon/evening,” the Bay Area office wrote. Several rivers can reach record levels.
The National Weather Service Center responsible for precipitation forecasts wrote this in some areas there may be amounts that occur on average once every five to 10 years. A large area of central and northern California has a 40 to 70 percent chance of flash flooding within 25 miles of any given location.
Winter storm warnings are in effect for the Sierra Nevada, where snow accumulations of 3 to 6 feet are expected Monday through Tuesday above 6,000-foot elevations. Winds of 80 mph are also possible, and gusts of 100 to 130 mph cannot be ruled out along the Sierra ridgeline.
Below 7,000 feet, the precipitation will start as snow and then turn to rain, causing the snowpack to accumulate with water, increasing the risk of avalanches. With a lull in precipitation intensity Monday night, temperatures will cool and sub-freezing highs will drop as a fresh batch of precipitation arrives Tuesday morning.
“Widespread avalanche activity in the mountains” is expected, according to the National Weather Service in Reno, Nevada. “Large destructive avalanches can occur in different areas.”
Weather models show the potential for a few thunderstorms Monday night, which could lead to snow showers that pose a danger to skiers and increase snowfall levels. Accumulations of more than 5 inches per hour cannot be ruled out during the peak of the storm.
Anderson, the climatologist, said the rain that fell over California in the previous week was leading to “some pretty amazing numbers.”
“What can it be More ▼ the next six days are impressive,” he said. “Look at these numbers – just as big as what we’ve been through and this relentless pace of storms, and some really big numbers.”
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