Northern California is facing more severe weather as it continues to recover from a week of storms that brought heavy rainfall and strong winds, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 people and power outages for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
The National Weather Service has warned that California will continue to be affected by a “relentless parade of cyclones” until the middle of the week. These storms are being caused by two overlapping phenomena: an atmospheric river, which is a large stream of dense moisture from the ocean, and a bomb cyclone, which is a low-pressure system with hurricane-force winds.
Governor Gavin Newsom has reported that at least 12 people have died from weather-related incidents in California over the past 10 days. Among the victims was a toddler who was killed when a redwood tree fell and crushed a mobile home in Sonoma. A woman living in a homeless encampment along the American River in Sacramento also died during a storm on Saturday night when a tree branch fell on her tent.
As of Monday morning, some 424,000 homes and businesses in California remained without power. Another severe storm is expected to hit on Monday afternoon. On top of that, another atmospheric river, the sixth of the season, is expected later in the week. State officials have warned that the worst is yet to come, with Newsom stating, “We expect to see the worst of it still ahead of us.”
The storms have already caused significant damage, including violent wind gusts that have toppled trucks, flooded small towns along the northern coast, and destroyed a pier in Santa Cruz. The heavy rain and snow have also caused significant flooding and ground saturation, which means that the next storm could bring an additional flood threat. The National Weather Service has warned that the Sierra Nevada mountains could receive up to five feet of snow by Tuesday.
In response to the storms, Newsom declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and has requested a federal emergency declaration from the White House. The state is now working to recover and prepare for any additional storms that may come.