38m covered by flood alerts as California battered by storm
SACRAMENTO: (Web Desk) A severe storm system started moving through California Sunday and into Monday, marking the start of what’s expected to be days’ worth of heavy rain and snow.
Some 38 million people are covered by flood alerts due to a weather system the National Weather Service said could be “potentially historic.”
Over 500,000 customers are without power in California as of Monday morning, mostly in the northern and central parts of the state, although Los Angeles is also reporting 4,000 powerless homes and businesses.
Heavy rain led to mandatory evacuations for parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties on Sunday and firefighters rescued 16 people from a single street in Los Angeles as mudslides caused havoc.
Preliminary data from the National Weather Service shows just how much rain has fallen in California since Saturday morning.
A person died Sunday after a tree fell into a home in Boulder Creek, California, a mountain community in the Santa Cruz mountains about 30 miles southwest of San Jose, authorities said.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office told NBC News that deputies responded to the home just before 3:30 p.m. local time and found one resident had made it out of the house, but another was trapped inside.
“Unfortunately, the resident inside sustained injuries from the tree falling into the home and was pronounced deceased at the scene,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said. The identity of the victim was not released, pending family notification.
The Boulder Creek fatality appears to be the second in the state connected to the severe weather that hit Sunday.
Rescue crews were able to pull several people, three dogs and nine puppies from flooding along the Guadalupe River. KNTV’s Marianne Favro reports.
In this weekend’s deluge, 9.94 inches of rain was recorded near the University of California, Los Angeles; 6.33 inches north of Culver City; and 3.35 inches in Santa Barbara.
Meanwhile, a top wind gust of 138 mph was clocked in Ward Peak near Lake Tahoe, 120 mph in Upper Bull at Patterson Mountain, and 94 mph in Grapevine, California.
Today, 38 million people remain under flood alerts across much of California and into parts of southern Arizona, 34 million are under wind alerts and 1 million under winter alerts.
Three to 5 more inches of rain are anticipated through Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, 2 to 4 inches in San Diego, and 7 to 10 inches in the mountains. Up to 4 to 6 feet of snow is possible in the Sierra through Tuesday.
Jeffrey Raines clears debris from a mudslide at his parent’s home during a rainstorm, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, in Los Angeles.
High-risk outlook days are rare, yet account for a majority of flood-related damages and a large percentage of flood-related deaths.
For the second day in a row, a high risk for heavy rainfall is in effect for portions of Southern California. A high risk is the highest-designation flood risk issued by the Weather Prediction Center. Marginal, slight and moderate risks are the lower categories often issued before a high risk is considered. A high risk means there is a 70% chance that rainfall amounts and/or rates will spark flash flooding.
According to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center, between 2010 and 2020 high-risk days accounted for more than 80% of flood-related damages and nearly 40% of flood-related fatalities.
When Los Angeles was included in the high-risk area Sunday, it was the first time that the Los Angeles metro, specifically, was ever placed under a high risk for excessive rainfall that could cause flash flooding. Monday became the second day in a row for Los Angeles.
A man died Sunday after a tree fell on him in Yuba City in Northern California, police said. The area was hit with heavy rain and wind yesterday by an atmospheric river.
Yuba City police responded to an address on Tres Picos Drive around 7 p.m. local time and found the man underneath “a very large redwood tree in his backyard.” Lifesaving measures were administered, but he could not be revived.
Police said it appeared the man was possibly using a ladder to try to clear the tree away from his home when it fell. A neighbor, who called authorities, said they last saw the man around 3 p.m. and believe they heard the tree fall around 5 p.m.
The man was not identified.
As rain continues to batter the Golden State, over 529,000 homes and businesses are without power as of 6:30 a.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET).
Most of the outages are concentrated in Northern and central California, with Mendocino County reporting over 23,400 customers without power, over 38,000 in Sonoma County, and over 54,000 out in San Mateo County.
In Los Angeles, more than 4,000 out of 2 million customers are experiencing outages.