An atmospheric river dumped additional heavy rain on California on Wednesday, triggering evacuations, power outages, and road closures. At the same time, the remains of a severe Nor’easter snowstorm covered most of upstate New York and New England in snow.
After two decades of drought, the West Coast is experiencing an unusually rainy season, damaging highways and risking blufftop mansions in southern California’s Orange County.
“It’s been fire to ice with no warm bath in between,” Governor Gavin Newsom remarked of the state’s transition from wildfires to one of the snowiest winters on record.
California’s 43 counties are under emergency status. PowerOutage.us reported over 130,000 households and businesses without power on Wednesday.
Heavy rain, melting snowpack, saturated soils, and overflowing streams caused the 11th atmospheric river of the season to warn of flooding and mudslides.
On Wednesday afternoon, only light rains remained in southern California, but forecasts predicted a 12th atmospheric river next week.
Atmospheric rivers are Pacific tropical moisture-laden air currents. They killed at least 20 individuals in California from late December to mid-January.
Newsom claimed four people died in the latest storm while inspecting flood damage in Pajaro, on the state’s central coast, where a levee burst on Saturday, forcing most of the town’s 2,000 Hispanic agricultural workers to leave.
“Tired. Everyone’s exhausted “During Newsom’s news conference, Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto addressed. “Our poorest neighbors struggle.”
Monterey County renewed an evacuation order for a 25-mile (40-kilometer) area along the Salinas River and Highway 101, mostly low-lying agriculture. In addition, several coastal and interior highways were blocked.
The National Weather Service issued flood warnings to many municipalities along the Sacramento River, the state’s longest.