California storm could bring ‘historic’ rain, forecasters warn
As forecasters predicted record-breaking rains, a powerful storm struck Northern California Sunday. It flooded roads, toppled trees, and caused mudflows in burned areas.
Drenching rain and strong winds accompanied the arrival of an atmospheric river — a long and wide plume of moisture pulled in from the Pacific Ocean that was predicted to move south over the next few days. Warnings were issued by the Sacramento National Weather Service office about “potentially significant rain.”
Inundation of the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza in Oakland was reported as a result of flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the Weather Service on Twitter, Mount Tamalpais, north of San Francisco, had received over 6 in (15 cm) of rain during the past 12 hours.
California Highway Patrol shut down State Route 70 in Butte County due to mudslides caused by the huge Caldor Fire burn scar.
Highway patrol in Oroville said that there have been several accidents this morning, including vehicles falling from the sky, trees being cut, and roads flooding. Please stay off the roads today if you are able. Please use extreme caution if you’re out on the streets.
Fire dangers remain as areas without vegetation are less able to absorb the heavy rainfall. This increases the chance of people getting trapped in mudslides or flash flooding.
The Sacramento weather service said, “If you’re in close proximity to a burn scare and haven’t done so already prepare for possible debris flows.” If you’re told by authorities to evacuate or feel in danger, don’t hesitate to do it. You can always get higher ground if it’s too late.
Evacuation orders in Santa Cruz Mountains were issued south of San Francisco due to concerns that rain may trigger debris flows within the CZU Lighting Complex Fire burn scar. A portion of Santa Barbara County, further south was under evacuation orders due to the Alisal Fire.
The strong winds are also forecast with gusts up to 60 mph (97 km/h) in the most windy areas of Northern California. The Sierra Nevada has elevations of 9,000 feet or higher, and could receive 18 inches (or more) from Sunday to Monday.
The nation’s worst wildfires are being contained thanks to recent storms. It remains to be determined if wet weather can make an impact on the drought in California and other western states. California is experiencing a hotter climate than ever before. This means that any rain or snow that falls is more likely to evaporate and absorb into the soil.
California’s 2021 water-year, Sept. 30 to 20, was second dryest on record. Last year was fifth. Record lows have been recorded at some of California’s most valuable reservoirs.