A “relentless march of cyclones” that has hit the US state of California is expected to move further north, the US National Weather Service said on Thursday, as the region continues to struggle with flooding and landslides.
At least 18 people are known to have died in the recent series of storms that hit the western United States, bringing in some places levels of rain not seen in 150 years.
Communities have been washed out, power lines down and roads blocked by rockfalls as an endless flood hits the Golden State.
On Wednesday, parts of Northern California were under a flash flood watch or winter weather advisory.
“The heaviest rains are expected to affect Northwest California over the next two days with several inches of rain possible,” the National Weather Service warned.
A later advisory said the weather system would also affect other states in the Pacific Northwest by early Saturday.
This rain will come on top of weeks of torrential rain that has left the Earth saturated, with rivers ready to burst and hillsides in danger of collapsing.
In the town of Aptos, near Santa Cruz, residents collected the debris after it was flooded.
“This is probably the worst flood I’ve seen here since I’ve lived here, since 1984,” Doug Spinelli told AFP.
“The Aptos Creek was flowing down so angrily, I thought it was going to tear up our little footpath, and there were tree trunks being forced down the river, almost at a rate of about one every 30 seconds.
“It was amazing to see how much debris and trees were flowing down the stream.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who visited the weather-battered Capitol on Tuesday, said the relentless storms meant even less rain could be problematic.
“The number of inches of rain and the intensity don’t tell the whole story,” he told reporters.
“We are soaked, this place is soaked. And now only more modest amounts of precipitation can add an equal or greater effect in terms of the conditions on the ground.”
“We will search until we find him”
More than 35,000 homes and businesses were without power in California early Thursday, according to the tracking site Poweroutage.us, and there were tragedies across the state.
A five-year-old boy who disappeared in floodwaters in San Luis Obispo was still missing Wednesday.
Lindsay Duane was driving son Kyle to school Monday morning when the family car was swept away by floodwaters.
She managed to get out of the vehicle, but was unable to open Kyle’s door.
“He was calm. He was trying to say, ‘Stay calm, mom,'” the boy’s father, Brian Duane, said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “She did her best.”
When she finally got him out of the car they were separated by the current.
Nearby residents pulled her from the water, but Kyle was swept down the stream.
“My wife feels very terrible to survive this and not him,” Brian Duane said.
“She did the right thing and got him out of the car. San Miguel Fire told me they saw the car move and it was pushed upside down in the creek.”
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff said they are still searching for the boy, including with underwater crews.
“We will search until we find him,” spokesman Tony Cipolla told the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
According to a summary by the LA Times, the 18 confirmed deaths in the state include drivers found in submerged cars, people hit by falling trees, a husband and wife killed in a rock slide and people whose bodies were found in floodwaters.
Winter storms are not unusual in California, which tends to receive most of its annual rainfall over a fairly short period of time.
But the current systems — which have brought more rain to San Francisco in two weeks than at any time since 1866 — are vicious.
Scientists say global warming, driven by human activity, is making weather events more extreme, with more violent storms and more severe droughts.
Despite the misery, the storms, which are expected to continue raking California for another week, are bringing rain to an area of the country that desperately needs it after more than two decades of drought.
But even the huge amounts of water that are falling are not enough to replenish the depleted reservoirs and aquifers.
Lake Shasta, the state’s largest reservoir, was still only two-thirds of its historic average in early January, Department of Water Resources data showed.
© 2023 AFP
quotation: ‘Relentless Cyclones’ Continue to Batter US State of California (2023, January 12) Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-relentless-cyclones-batter-state-california .html
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