Power Outages, Flooding, and Hurricane-Force Winds
A powerful winter storm, fueled by a relentless atmospheric river, unleashed havoc across California on Sunday. The state was battered by intense downpours, leaving hundreds of thousands without power, flooding roadways, and prompting a rare warning of hurricane-force winds. This second atmospheric river often likened to a river in the sky, proved to be the most potent of the season, particularly in Southern California.
Millions at Risk as Meteorologists Sound Alarm
Accuweather meteorologists warned that up to 37 million people, approximately 94% of California’s population, were at risk of life-threatening floods from the storm. The National Weather Service issued a seldom-seen hurricane-force wind warning for the Central Coast, cautioning about gusts reaching up to 92 mph from the Monterey Peninsula to the northern section of San Luis Obispo County. The gravity of the situation urged officials to take unprecedented steps to ensure public safety.
Chaos Unleashes Across Northern California
San Francisco felt the brunt of the winter storm, with officials issuing alerts about flooded and blocked streets, fallen trees – one of which brought down power lines – and a hillside landslide. Meanwhile, 100 miles south in Monterey County, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament faced delays as adverse weather conditions persisted. The consequences of the storm’s wrath were far-reaching, impacting daily life and scheduled events.
State of Emergency Declared as the Storm Heads South
As the winter storm progresses, it is expected to head south, bringing downpours, flash floods, and high-elevation mountain snow to the Los Angeles area on Sunday afternoon and evening. The onslaught is set to continue, targeting Orange County and San Diego on Monday and Tuesday. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for eight Southern California counties, including Los Angeles and Orange. The National Weather Service described the impending weather as “one of the most dramatic” in recent memory.
The first storm, known as the “Pineapple Express,” drenched the state with 1-6 inches of rain last Wednesday and Thursday. The follow-up storm, carrying even more moisture, is exacerbating already saturated regions, creating dangerous and potentially deadly conditions. As Californians brace for the continued onslaught, emergency response teams are on high alert, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and caution in the face of this unprecedented winter storm.