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Evacuation warnings amid post-storm flooding in California

Evacuation warnings amid post-storm flooding in California

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Residents of a Northern California community were ordered to evacuate ahead of imminent flooding, and evacuation warnings were in place elsewhere in rural parts of the region on New Year’s Day after a powerful storm brought heavy rain or heavy snowfall to much of the state. breaching levees, snarling traffic and closing major highways.

Even after the storm passed, extensive flooding occurred in agricultural areas about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Sacramento, where rivers overflowed their banks and flooded dozens of cars along State Route 99.

Emergency crews rescued motorists on New Year’s Eve until Sunday morning, and the highway remained closed. Crews on Sunday found one person dead in a submerged vehicle near Highway 99, Dan Quigle, deputy fire chief for operations for the Cosumnes County Fire Department, told The Sacramento Bee.

Sacramento County officials issued an evacuation order late Sunday for residents of the low-lying community of Point Pleasant near Interstate 5, citing imminent and dangerous flooding. Residents of the nearby communities of Glanville Tract and Franklin Pond were told to prepare to leave before more roads were cut off by rising water and evacuation became impossible.

“Flood from the Cosumnes River and Mokelumne River is expected to move southwest toward I-5 and may reach these areas by mid-night,” the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Management said earlier on Twitter Sunday afternoon. “Livestock in affected areas should be moved to higher ground.”

North of the state capital, crews cleared fallen trees from roads and sidewalks as at least 17,000 customers were still without power Sunday, down from more than 150,000 a day earlier, according to an online map by the municipal utility Sacramento area.

Near Lake Tahoe, dozens of drivers were rescued on New Year’s Eve on Interstate 80 after cars spun in the snow during the blizzard, the California Department of Transportation said. The key route into the mountains from the San Francisco Bay Area reopened early Sunday to passenger tracked vehicles.

“Roads are extremely slick so let’s work together and slow down so we can keep I-80 open,” the California Highway Patrol said on Twitter. Several other highways, including State Route 50, were also reopened.

More than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow had accumulated in the high Sierra Nevada, and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area said the heavy, wet snow would cause major delays in chairlift opening. On Saturday, the resort reported multiple lift closures, citing high winds, low visibility and ice.

The so-called atmospheric river storm attracted a long and wide plume of moisture from the Pacific Ocean. Flooding and landslides closed sections of roads in the state.

Rainfall in downtown San Francisco reached 5.46 inches (13.87 cm) on New Year’s Eve, making it the second-wettest day on record after the November 1994 deluge, the National Weather Service said. Videos on Twitter showed mud-colored water flowing down the streets of San Francisco, and a staircase in Oakland turned into a veritable waterfall from torrential rains.

In Southern California, several people were rescued after flash floods swamped cars in San Bernardino and Orange counties. No serious injuries were reported.

As the region dries out on New Year’s Day and no rain is expected during Monday’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, spectators have begun selecting their seats for the annual floral spectacle.

The rain was welcome in drought-parched California. The past three years have been the state’s driest, but much more rainfall is needed to make a significant difference.

It was the first of several storms expected to hit the state within a week. Saturday’s system was warmer and wetter, while this week’s storms will be colder, said Hannah Chandler-Cooley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The Sacramento region could receive a total of 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 centimeters) of rain during the week, Chandler-Cooley said.

Another round of heavy rain was also forecast for Southern California on Tuesday or Wednesday, the National Weather Service office in Los Angeles said.

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