Intense storms have devastated California for the past ten days and are set to continue this week (Pictures: Credit REUTERS / AP
California is bracing for more severe weather after a series of ‘atmospheric river’ storms bombarded the state for the past 10 days.
A total of 12 people have been killed as a direct result of the weather, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
‘We’ve been at this how many days, and we expect to see the worst of it still in front of us,’ Newsom said on Sunday.
The governor warned Californians to ‘use your common sense’ and not to ‘test fate’ in the upcoming storm, asking them to stay home and avoid driving or walking in flooded areas.
A tree blocks a roadway after it fell in high winds during a winter storm in West Sacramento, California (Picture: REUTERS)
‘Just a foot of water – and your car’s floating. Half a foot of water – you will get swept off your feet,’ he said.
At least one low-lying rural town has been evacuated in anticipation of flooding. Wilton, a community of about 5,000 people located south of Sacramento, was evacuated due to flood risk from the Cosumnes River.
The Cosumnes River flooded last week as well, threatening several communities in the Central Valley. At least one person was found dead in their car after the storm on January 2.
The National Weather Service (NWS) predicted another round of rainstorms on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday would bring a ‘moderate’ risk of flash flooding to a large swathe of the Golden State.
A damaged Valero gas station creaks in the wind during a massive rain storm in San Francisco, California on January 4, 2023 (Picture: AFP)
The large area at risk includes the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento, according to the NWS.
The NWS in Los Angeles reported that the region will see ‘very heavy’ rainfall between 12pm on Monday and 12am on Tuesday, with some areas expected to see up to 12 inches of rainfall over the course of the day.
Additionally, infrastructure damage has left hundreds of thousands stranded without power over the last week. On Monday morning, more than 120,000 customers across the Golden State were still without power as thousands of utility crews worked on restoration efforts.
A crane removes an uprooted tree from a home in Sacramento, California (Picture: AP)
One of the hardest hit regions has been the state’s Central Valley. Over 37,000 people in the capital of Sacramento were still out of power, as were thousands more in neighboring San Joaquin County and Yolo County.
Over the weekend, wind gusts with speeds over 60 miles per hour knocked down power lines across the region, leading to over 350,000 service outages in the state capital.
In an aerial view, damage is visible on the Capitola Wharf following a powerful winter storm on January 6 (Picture: Getty Images)
President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for the state and deployed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief.
FEMA will work to combat the effects of ‘successive and severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides,’ the White House said on Sunday.
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‘We’ve been at this how many days, and we expect to see the worst of it still in front of us.’