California Weather: Another Winter Storm As Thousands Without Power

California Weather: Another Winter Storm As Thousands Without Power

At least two people have died as a result of the ongoing storms inundating California, and nearly 10,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as severe flooding threatens several coastal counties, according to officials.

The powerful storms dumped heavy rain across the state’s central and northern regions, prompting the Weather Prediction Center to issue a Level 4 of 4 warning of excessive rainfall.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has approved the state of emergency declaration requested by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night, paving the way for financial assistance in responding to the storm’s onslaught and recovery, according to Nancy Ward, director of the state’s Office of Emergency Services.

According to, approximately 25 million people are under flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service, and more than 25,000 are without power.

According to the National Weather Service, some isolated areas of the state have received more than a foot of rain, as the heaviest rain will shift south and lessen in intensity this evening and into the overnight hours. However, rain is expected to continue through the weekend, raising the risk of flooding.

Residents in many of California’s mountain communities are still trapped by snow from two winter storms, and another significant atmospheric river event is expected to hit the region early next week.

Ward said at a news conference on Friday that two people had died and that approximately 9,400 people had been ordered to evacuate.

Flash flooding is expected to be a major concern from California’s central coast to the Sierra Nevada foothills over the next six to eight hours, according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Lawrence. Ward added that more than a dozen shelters have opened in nine counties to house those who have been forced to flee their homes.

CalTrans, the state’s transportation agency, has approximately 4,000 crew members working 12-hour shifts during this weather event who are already removing downed trees and clearing drainage culverts to minimize flooding, according to deputy director John McKeever. The California National Guard has also sent 36 high-water vehicles to assist with rescues, according to David Kauffman of the Cal Guard.

Three elderly women, including a 104-year-old, were rescued after becoming stranded in a house in Fresno County, according to Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni. According to the sheriff’s office, floodwaters in the county had “risen considerably” by Friday afternoon, prompting an evacuation order for all residents.

The heaviest rainfall and most significant impacts are expected to last all day Friday. Throughout California, hourly rainfall rates will gradually increase in intensity through Friday morning, potentially reaching 1 inch per hour.

Above 8,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, 8 feet of snow could fall. The Weather Prediction Center said that creeks and streams in the Sierra Nevada mountains’ foothills remain the most vulnerable to flooding from rain and snowmelt.

A separate system is also delivering snow to a large swath of the central United States, with winter weather warnings in effect from South Dakota to Connecticut on Friday. The storm has already produced widespread snowfall totals ranging from 2 to 5 inches, with an area along the Illinois-Wisconsin border receiving 6 to 8 inches.

Up to 2 inches of snow could fall on top of the 2.1 inches already on the ground in Minneapolis. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about 4 inches of snow has already fallen, with another 5 inches possible today.

Due to previous storms and this week’s severe weather threat, the governor’s office declared a state of emergency in 34 of California’s 58 counties on Friday. Thursday morning, the state also activated its flood operations center.

A video taken from his car by a Springville resident in Tulare County on Friday showed rushing flood water below a bridge striking a home.

“Not looking good in Springville,” Brian Duke captioned a Facebook video. “Authorities have ordered that everyone along the river be evacuated. It’s deteriorating by the minute.”

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said Friday evening that it was receiving reports of widespread flooding, collapsed bridges, downed trees, and separated roads, urging residents to take the storm seriously and follow officials’ instructions.

According to Steve Wiesner, Santa Cruz County assistant public works director, approximately 700 residents in Soquel, California, located in Santa Cruz County, are trapped after a pipe failure caused intense flooding and the collapse of the only road connecting the community to the rest of the region.

Molly Watson, a Soquel resident, shared a photo with CNN of a large section of road washed out by floodwaters in the town. As emergency crews stand on one side of the road and residents on the other, cracked pavement appears to sink into the rushing water.

“This is the only road into town,” Watson explained. “We’ve become an island.”

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