California had less people die in the last two years of major wildfires in the US state than have died since New Year’s Day related to this extreme weather. These conditions are serious and they’re deadly.
On Saturday, one to three inches of rain poured over the lowlands of Central and Northern California, with additional rain in the mountains. Snow pelted down in Sierra Nevada and continued to threaten the state of California with more flooding, landslides, and hail.
The state, which has been experiencing its worst mega-drought in 1,200 years, has been drenched by major storms since December 20, 2022. Those catastrophic storm systems have even prompted emergency evacuations in Santa Cruz County.
While the rain was moderate on Saturday, evacuations were prompted by an atmospheric river which swept inland and posed a threat for areas.After California decided to give some of the land back to the native people, drought struck followed by torrential downpours.
An atmospheric river is like a long, narrow river that runs through the sky and acts as a transportation vessel for tropical water vapor. Once these rivers fall on land, they can threaten the area with extreme rainfall, floods, and induce mudslides.
Downed trees left more than 40,000 homes in California without power on Saturday morning, according to PowerOutage.us. Atmospheric rivers have dropped about 24 trillion gallons of water onto the state since late December, 2022.
At least 19 people in California have been killed by the deadly storms, while a five-year-old boy remained missing on Saturday after being swept from his mother’s car by flood waters earlier in the week.
Local authorities were forced to suspend a search for the missing child due to unsuitable weather, according to a social media post from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
The rain has also impacted the state’s prized redwoods, whose future remains somewhat uncertain after the heavy rain and flooding.
While other areas have experienced destabilized soil, sinkholes, mudslides and fallen trees, the condition of the redwoods—which are known as Earth’s tallest trees—remains unknown.
California State Parks spokesperson Adeline Yee saying that they will not have a full assessment of the damage until after the storm.
California’s governor warned his constituents that the next few days would remain challenging and he cautioned Californians to prepare for the state’s ninth atmospheric river which will roll in once Saturday’s storm ends.
The storm is predicted to ease on Sunday before another major blow that Sunday night at about 10 PM which could last until Monday or Tuesday.
The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab also reported on Saturday morning that they received 21.3 inches of snow in just 24 hours—that snow-pack will increase by 10 feet by Monday.
Scientists warn that while some storms during the winter are normal, climate change has worsened the effects of extreme weather, creating a weather whiplash in the Golden State. The enormous amounts of rain also won’t end California’s megadrought.
I know how fatigued you all are, Newsom said Friday, urging caution ahead of incoming storms. Just maintain a little more vigilance over the course of the next weekend.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.