California faces the prospect of more storms with 14 deaths so far | TBEN news


California saw no relief from the drenching rains early Tuesday as the latest in a relentless series of storms continued to flood roads and batter coastlines with high waves, turning rivers into torrential floodplains and prompting the evacuation of thousands in cities with a history of deadly mudslides. At least 14 people have died since the storms began last week.

The storm triggered some tornado warnings early Tuesday and was also expected to bring heavy snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains a day after pouring up to 36 inches of rain at higher elevations in central and southern California.

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After a brief hiatus, another storm was expected to storm into the state starting Wednesday, adding to the misery and further saturation of areas already at risk of flooding and debris flows. It could bring enough rain to exacerbate ongoing flooding and increase the risk of mudslides, forecasters said.

Forecasters also warned that Southwestern California could see wind gusts of 60 mph at the peak of the storm, while some areas could receive rainfall of 5 inches per hour.

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The death toll is rising

The storms so far have threatened coastal and riverine cities and left more than 200,000 homes and businesses without power Tuesday, according to the website, which tracks utility reports. The Weather Service has issued a flood watch through Tuesday for the entire San Francisco Bay Area, along with Sacramento Valley and Monterey Bay. Areas hit by wildfires in recent years faced the possibility of mud and debris sliding down barren slopes that have not yet fully recovered their protective layer of vegetation.

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The death toll from the storms that started last week rose from 12 to 14 on Monday after two people, including a homeless man, were killed by falling trees, state officials said.

People carrying their belongings arrive Monday evening at an evacuation center in Santa Barbara, California. (Ringo HW Chiu/The The Bharat Express News)

A five-year-old boy disappeared in floods on the central coast on Monday. The boy’s mother was driving a truck when it became stranded near Paso Robles. Bystanders managed to pull her free, but the boy was dragged from the truck and carried away, likely into a river, said Tom Swanson, assistant chief of the Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Department.

California state highway authorities said late Monday night that portions of U.S. and state highways were closed due to flooding, mud or rock slides, heavy snow or auto spinouts and truck accidents.

In Santa Cruz County, evacuation orders were issued for about 32,000 residents living near rain-swollen rivers and creeks. The San Lorenzo River was declared a flood stage and drone footage showed numerous homes in muddy brown water, the top halves of cars peeking out.

‘Not easy to move’

A search of about seven hours for the five-year-old boy was called off because the water level was too dangerous for divers, officials said. The boy was not pronounced dead, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

About 130 miles south, about 10,000 people were ordered to evacuate in Santa Barbara County.

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California storm prompts evacuation orders north of LA

Heavy rains and flooding in Montecito, California, north of Los Angeles, prompted officials to order the evacuation of the entire community.

The entire coastal community of Montecito — home to Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities — was ordered to flee, while Northern County officials ordered about an hour to evacuate 20 homes in the Orcutt area following flooding and a sinkhole. that damaged up to 15 houses.

Jamie McLeod’s property was under Montecito’s evacuation order, but she said there was no way she could “get off the mountain” with a rushing creek on one side and a mudslide on the other. The 60-year-old owner of the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary said one of her employees came to deliver food every week and also got stuck.

“It’s not easy to move,” McLeod said. “I absolutely love it [here]except in a catastrophe.”

Several miles up the coast, another town, La Conchita in Ventura County, was evacuated. A mudslide killed 10 people there in 2005.

In Ventura County, the Ventura River reached an all-time high of more than eight meters on Monday. Firefighters used helicopters to rescue more than a dozen people trapped on an island in the rising waters. The water level dropped rapidly overnight to the level of a minor flood stage.

In Los Angeles, a sinkhole swallowed up two cars in the Chatsworth area Monday night. Two people managed to escape on their own and firefighters rescued two others who suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

US President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration on Monday to support storm response and relief efforts in more than a dozen counties, a move welcomed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Much of California has generally experienced severe to extreme drought, though the storms have helped fill depleted reservoirs.