Another storm slammed into California on Friday, causing flooding and evacuating orders in several areas already hit by a particularly rainy winter in recent weeks.
• Also read: The roof of a supermarket in California has collapsed under heavy snow
Precipitation of up to 23 cm is expected in some places. This rain, caused by a rather warm depression, is likely to melt part of the exceptional mass of snow that has accumulated over the past three months.
Enough to cause an impossible-to-contain runoff in the state’s waterways.
Getty Images via AFP
The US Weather Service (NWS) has warned that rain on “soggy soil” from storms this winter and on “heavy snowpack will cause significant flooding”.
At higher elevations, snowfall over the mountains of Northern California is expected to cause “traffic difficulties.”
On Friday, US President Joe Biden approved a state of emergency declaration in California, to facilitate aid from the federal state.
“California is deploying all the tools at its disposal to protect communities from the severe and deadly storms that are hitting our state,” said Governor Gavin Newsom, who was pleading for this emergency assistance.
Numerous evacuation orders were issued, especially in Northern California, where Seven Rivers could experience major flooding.
California, the most populous state in the country, has a particularly rainy winter. In January in particular, a series of back-to-back storms caused flooding, landslides, and downed multiple trees, killing 20 people.
The current storm, like most others this winter, is being fed by an “atmospheric river,” a giant corridor of rain carrying water vapor stored in the tropics, often around Hawaii, earning them the nickname “Pineapple Express.”
“Stay home tonight if you can,” the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, near San Francisco, advised on Twitter.
A car was wrecked by a falling tree in the area in Redwood City, but the driver and passenger are expected to be fine, according to the sheriff.
In eastern California, the Sierra Nevada mountain range has been covered in a thicker-than-usual snowpack for weeks.
In the face of fresh snowfall on Friday, many ski resorts in the area closed their doors. In South Lake Tahoe, the weight of piling snow caused the roof of a gas station to collapse, starting a fire, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Local firefighters told the newspaper that several similar incidents had occurred in recent days.
“No one was injured in any of these incidents, which is remarkable,” said one of the principals, Kim George.
Further south, in the San Bernardino Mountains near Los Angeles, some villages are just beginning to get there again, after being cut off from the world for days, even weeks for some small villages.
Some residents have expressed annoyance at the slow turnaround, and a man even stole a local snow plow in Big Bear last Saturday.
But in the powder, he failed to cover his tracks: the machine was equipped with a tracking device, and he was easily caught by law enforcement.
In Los Angeles itself, the storm has complicated preparations for the Academy Awards, scheduled for Sunday.
On Friday, the preparation teams placed buckets on the red carpet, to collect the rain that flowed under the tent covering the area. The water threatened to spoil the large golden statues erected for the event.
“Evil thinker. Music scholar. Hipster-friendly communicator. Bacon geek. Amateur internet enthusiast. Introvert.”