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California, battered by more storms, braces for potential flooding

California, battered by more storms, braces for potential flooding

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California was hit by more stormy weather Sunday as thunderstorms, snow and damaging winds lashed the northern part of the state, ahead of another series of approaching storms and raising the potential for road flooding, rising rivers and mudslides on soils already saturated after days of rain.

The National Weather Service warned of a “relentless parade of atmospheric rivers”—storms that are long plumes of moisture stretching across the Pacific Ocean capable of dumping staggering amounts of rain and snow.

In the state capital, more than 60,000 customers were still without power Sunday night – down from more than 350,000 – after gusts of 60 mph (97 km/h) knocked trees onto power lines, according to Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Joey Kliman was listening to howling winds just after midnight, wondering if she should move her car, when she heard a “giant, thumping, crashing sound” as a massive tree fell on the Sacramento home she’s lived in for 25 years.

The gusts were strong enough to uproot the tree, pulling the concrete sidewalk along with it.

Cracks in Kleemann’s roof meant that rain poured into her dining room throughout the night. She plans to put a tarp over the damaged area in anticipation of another flood.

“I just had a feel for the winds. They were scary winds,” she said. “I mostly focused on: It could be a lot worse.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom said 12 people had lost their lives as a result of the bad weather over the past 10 days and warned that this week’s storms could be even more dangerous. He urged people to stay at home.

“Just be careful over the next week, especially over the next day or two or so,” Newsom said during a briefing with California officials, outlining the state’s preparations for the storm.

The weather service office in Sacramento said the region should prepare for the latest atmospheric river to hit the coast late Sunday and early Monday.

“Widespread power outages, downed trees and difficult driving conditions will be possible,” the office said Twitter.

There were evacuation warnings for about 13,000 residents of a flood-prone area in Sonoma County north of San Francisco, where the swollen Russian River is expected to overflow its banks in the coming days.

And Sacramento County ordered the evacuation of people living around Wilton, a town of about 6,000 residents roughly 20 miles southeast of downtown Sacramento, with warnings of impending flooding. The rural area along the Cosumnes River experienced flooding in a previous storm.

“Residents should evacuate now before roads become impassable,” the county said.

The state Department of Transportation warned drivers to stay off mountain roads after closing a section of US 395 in Mono County, along the Eastern Sierra, due to heavy snow, ice and whiteout conditions.

“With the severe nature of this storm, Caltrans is asking all drivers to limit non-essential travel until the peak of the storm has passed,” the department said in a statement.

Then comes the wet weather days of rain in California from Pacific storms which last week knocked out power to thousands, flooded streets, battered the coast and caused at least six deaths.

The first of the latest, stronger storms prompted the weather service to issue a flood warning for much of northern and central California, with 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain expected through Wednesday in the already saturated foothills of the Sacramento area .

In the Los Angeles area, scattered rain fell over the weekend, while stormy conditions are expected to return on Monday, with the potential for up to 8 inches (20 cm) in the foothills. Strong surf was expected through Tuesday with large waves on west-facing beaches.

San Francisco has received more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain since Dec. 26, while Mammoth Mountain, a popular ski area in the Eastern Sierra, has nearly 10 feet (3 meters) of snow, according to the National Weather Service reported.

The storms won’t be enough to officially end it The ongoing drought in California — but they have helped.

State climatologist Michael Anderson said at a news briefing late Saturday that officials are closely monitoring Monday’s incoming storm and another one after it, and are keeping an eye on three other systems farther out in the Pacific.

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