Rain-soaked Californians will again face storms this weekend that threaten more flooding, landslides, hail and heavy mountain snow.
The stormy weather came as recovery efforts continued in the state, which has been ravaged since late December by atmospheric river storms that killed at least 19 people.
A 5-year-old boy was also still missing on Saturday after being swept from his mother’s car by floodwaters earlier this week. Local authorities temporarily suspended the search for the boy, Kyle Doan, Saturday afternoon due to “unsuitable” weather, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.
Forecasts show rural areas in Northern California to be particularly hard hit by rain this weekend. Past storms have drenched and damaged the densely populated San Francisco Bay area and surrounding coastal communities.
“Any rainfall that falls on top of saturated and unstable ground increases the risk of new landslides and debris flows,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Renée Duff.
Flooding in Napa, mudslide reported near Dublin, California
There were reports of significant flooding in parts of Napa County, the heart of Northern California’s wine region, as early as Saturday, according to the county sheriff’s office. Flood warnings were issued north of San Francisco Bay, including Napa, Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. A mudslide caused road closures near Dublin, California. This is reported by the California Highway Patrol.
Atmospheric rivers, sometimes called “rivers in the sky,” form when a line of warm, moist air, usually drawn from nearby islands across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast, falls as heavy rain when the cooler air moves over land reaches.
Another atmospheric river is expected to reach the state on Monday.
“I know how tired you all are,” Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday, urging caution ahead of incoming storms. “Just maintain a little more vigilance over the course of the next weekend.”
Storm forecast for the weekend in California
The storm is expected to peak Saturday as it moves inland throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.
- More flood risk: With the ground already saturated from previous rainfall, more flooding and possible landslides are expected in the state through Monday, according to the weather forecast.
- Heavy snow: It is also predicted that heavy mountain snow of 3 to 6 feet and high winds will create whiteout conditions in the mountains of northern and central California, making travel nearly impossible. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab said Saturday morning it received 21.3 inches of snow in 24 hours and the snowpack of about 10 feet was expected to grow several more feet by Monday.
- Strong wind: Wind advisories are also in effect Saturday off the coast of California and the Central Valley with sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts of 50 mph.
- Blackouts: Stormy weather could cause more trees to fall and more power outages on Saturday, said David Lawrence, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. More than 40,000 homes in the state were still without power Saturday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
“People will get complacent, but the ground is saturated. It’s extremely, extremely dangerous,” Nancy Ward, the governor’s director of emergency services, said at a Friday news conference. “And that water may continue to rise long after the storms pass.”
Damage estimates in California are expected to exceed $1 billion
Officials have already begun estimating the damage, which is expected to exceed $1 billion.
While heavy rains, mudslides and hurricane-force winds have toppled the state, California has seen homes flooded, roofs torn off homes, levees breached, cars flooded and trees uprooted.
About 14 million gallons of sewage spilled into Southern California’s Ventura River as a result of the storms, according to Ventura County health officials. Two sewer lines also leaked in San Antonio Creek this week due to storm damage.
LAKE:Storms in California hit schools hard. What are the consequences of flooding for students?
California, long ravaged by drought, has reported an average of more than 10 inches (25 cm) of rain in the state over the past 18 days. Some parts of the state have already reached their average annual rainfall, Lawrence said.
President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration on Monday in support of the storm response in more than a dozen counties. But Newsom has said he is still waiting for Biden to issue a major disaster declaration that would raise more resources.
Recovery continues after tornadoes rip through Alabama, Georgia
As severe weather continues to besiege California, the south is recovering from a string of deadly tornadoes.
Recovery efforts continued into the weekend after numerous tornadoes swept through the South, killing at least nine people in Alabama and Georgia.
Residents recovered belongings on Friday and rescue teams searched for survivors among the rubble, sometimes digging into collapsed homes to free trapped residents.
Thursday’s massive storm system toppled mobile homes, uprooted trees, collapsed buildings, snapped power poles and derailed a freight train.
READ MORE:Civil rights legacy focuses ‘the eyes of the world’ on tornado damage in Selma, Alabama
Tornado damage was reported in at least 14 counties in Alabama and 14 in Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. At least 35 possible tornado touchdowns were reported in the Southeast, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said.
Meteorologists say it could take days to fully understand the strength of the storm.
Those killed in the storm included a Georgia Department of Transportation employee and a 5-year-old child who was riding in a vehicle that was hit by a falling tree in Georgia, officials said.
The child was identified as Egan Jeffcoat by his grandmother, TBEN News reported. His mother, Tabatha Anglin, was not injured, the grandmother said, but another adult in the car had critical injuries, Butts County officials said earlier.
A fundraiser for Egan’s mom raised nearly $20,000 on Saturday. His mom picked him up from school early so they could get home before the storm, but according to the fundraiser, which was verified by GoFundMe, a tree fell on the car and Egan was killed.
“His mom was a single mom and Egan was her whole world,” the fundraiser reads.
Dig deeper: more flood coverage
Contributing: Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser; The The Bharat Express News