California Floods 2023: Flash floods, potholes close roads with more storms forecast as rain erodes drought

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Drone Video of Flooded Felton in Santa Cruz County

California got a brief respite on Thursday from the series of storms that have drenched the state since the beginning of the year.

As authorities and residents race to recover from existing damage, and floods and sinkholes continue to wreak havoc and block entire communities, two more storms are forecast to hit on Friday and into the weekend.

The National Weather Service says parts of northwest and central California have already been hit by between 10 and 20 inches in the past two weeks, leaving the ground saturated. Now there are fears of more devastating floods to come.

At least 18 people have died in extreme weather-related incidents with the body of a 43-year-old woman discovered in a submerged vehicle in Sonoma County on Wednesday.

Near the town of Paso Robles, five-year-old Kyle Doan, swept away by floodwaters when he and his mother were trapped in their car, is still missing.

A small positive point of the intense rains is that they contributed to the severe drought that the state has been facing.

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Soggy California storms hurt drought

The atmospheric rivers that have been hitting California since late last year have covered the mountains in snow all winter and have begun to raise reservoir levels – but experts say it will take much more precipitation to reverse the effects of years of drought.

The US Drought Monitor’s weekly update released on Thursday showed that “extreme” drought was virtually eliminated a week after the worst category – “exceptional” – was eliminated from the map. Two weeks ago, an extreme drought covered 35% of California.

Series of California storms hurt drought

Atmospheric rivers hitting California since late last year have blanketed the mountains in snow all winter and begun to raise reservoir levels, but experts say it will take much more precipitation to reverse the effects of the dry years.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 07:00

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ICYMI: NWS Confirms Tornado Hit Tuesday in North San Joaquin Valley

The Sacramento National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that the destruction in Calaveras County on Tuesday morning was caused by a small tornado.

An EF1 tornado occurred around 4:10 am local time, touching down near a small reservoir. Although classified as “weak”, it still produced 90 mph winds and caused “extensive damage to white oak and pine trees”, according to an NWS press release.

The tornado is just a small part of the severe weather that has hit California for much of this month.

The same morning the tornado hit, severe thunderstorms swept through the San Joaquin Valley with winds strong enough to pick up a large horse barn near Oakdale, Stanislaus County, and drag it over a five-foot fence. . Neighboring properties had minor roof damage and wind speeds are believed to have peaked at 75 mph.

The NWS says a warning was sent to residents 17 minutes in advance warning that stray winds and tornadoes were possible due to heavy storms in the area.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 05:20

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Watch: Terrifying moment mother and daughter are rescued from drain

Terrifying footage captured the moment a mother and daughter had to be rescued from a sinkhole in Chatsworth, Los Angeles.

Intense flooding caused a sinkhole to open on Monday night, swallowing two cars.

Mother and daughter were safely removed from a pickup truck.

Mother and daughter rescued from car swallowed by drain after severe storm

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 04:20

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Gavin Newsom suggests link between floods and climate crisis

During a visit to heavily impacted Santa Cruz County on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom hinted at a link between California’s extreme weather and the climate crisis.

“The dry ones are getting a lot drier over the last three years, and the wet ones are getting a lot wetter. This climate whiplash – is this the new reality? he said, second NBC News.

California has been in a state of “mega-drought” for the past two decades, intensified by the impacts of global warming, according to a UCLA survey last year.

The study also found that it can take several years of high precipitation to overcome the mega-drought.

“It is extremely unlikely that this drought could end in a wet year,” said UCLA geographer Park Williams at the time.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 03:20

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Woman’s body found in submerged car in Sonoma County

At least 18 people have died in extreme weather-related incidents with the body of a 43-year-old woman discovered in a submerged vehicle in Sonoma County.

The victim, Daphne Fontino, made one last desperate call to 911 when her car got stuck in the floodwaters a day earlier.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said search and rescue teams made the grim discovery along the 6000 block of Trenton-Healdsburg Road, Forestville, on Wednesday morning.

“Our deepest condolences to family and friends,” the department said in a statement.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 2:20 am

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Watch: Large sinkhole opens after violent storm in Orcutt, California

As an intense series of storms continues to batter California, the potholes have become a major problem. Here’s one that opened in Orcutt, California.

Large sinkhole opens after violent storm in Orcutt, California

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 1:20 am

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ICYMI: Floods reach the California desert

The Palm Springs Fire Department performed the quick water rescue after a flood in a desert in the city. A wash is an area in the desert where water once flowed or which floods during heavy rains or flash floods.

The rescue began around 5:45 pm on Tuesday night and lasted about an hour, according to authorities.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 13, 2023 00:20

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How much rain and snow did it fall?

California was in a lull between storms on Thursday, but more rain is expected to arrive on Friday and continue through the weekend. Flooding remained a concern, especially along the Salinas River in Monterey County, as it rained heavily.

Downtown San Francisco, for example, received nearly 13.6 inches (34.5 centimeters) of rain from December 26 to January 10. .

In the Sierra Nevada and other mountains, the water content of the snowpack is more than 200% of the normal so far and more than 100% of the April 1 average, when it has historically been at its peak, according to the State Department of Water Resources.

“The automated sensors are recording what they consider a full seasonal snow pack, about what we would expect on April 1,” climatologist Michael Anderson told reporters this week.

The snowpack provides about a third of California’s water when it melts and runs off into rivers and reservoirs.

Locally, some reservoirs have had significant increases in water levels, but there are still significant deficits to be overcome.

Statewide, reservoir storage is only 82% of the average for this time of year. The largest reservoir, Shasta, is at just 44% of its capacity. That’s just 70% of the average so far. The huge Oroville reservoir is closer to its average, but at just 49% of its capacity.

And there is concern that the rains could stop abruptly. The end of 2021 was marked by significant storms, but the beginning of 2022 saw months of dry weather.

There are some indications of a drier pattern developing around Jan. 20, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, during an online briefing this week.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 12, 2023 11:50 pm

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At least 18 people died in the storms

At least 18 people have died in incidents linked to extreme weather in California, officials said.

Among the victims is a 43-year-old woman who was discovered in a submerged vehicle in Sonoma County on Wednesday.

In total, more lives were lost in the storms than in the past two years of wildfires in California.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 12, 2023 23:20

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Soggy California storms hurt drought

The atmospheric rivers that have been hitting California since late last year have covered the mountains in snow all winter and have begun to raise reservoir levels – but experts say it will take much more precipitation to reverse the effects of years of drought.

The US Drought Monitor’s weekly update released on Thursday showed that “extreme” drought was virtually eliminated a week after the worst category – “exceptional” – was eliminated from the map. Two weeks ago, an extreme drought covered 35% of California.

Series of California storms hurt drought

Atmospheric rivers hitting California since late last year have blanketed the mountains in snow all winter and begun to raise reservoir levels, but experts say it will take much more precipitation to reverse the effects of years of drought.

Oliver O’ConnellJanuary 12, 2023 10:50 pm

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