California was worst hit on Sunday in what meteorologists called a “bomb cyclone” and “atmospheric river,” a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of. the bay area, along with high winds, concerns over flash floods and the potential for heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.
The National Weather Service has warned that precipitation could cause mudslides, especially in areas scorched by wildfires.
From Marin County to the area just south of Big Sur along the Pacific Coast, flash flood watches were in effect until late Sunday evening and in some areas early Monday morning, including parts from the San Francisco Peninsula.
The threat of flash floods has sparked evacuation orders for parts of San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, where authorities have warned that downed trees, branches and mudslides could hamper efforts to leave. In San Francisco, rescuers orderly evacuations on a block, where they said several structures were threatened by a leaning tree.
The convergence of storms comes at a difficult time for California, which has been besieged by wildfires and drought, the result of extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change.
By 11:30 am local time as of Sunday, at least 66,000 Bay Area utility customers had lost power, said JD Guidi, spokesperson for Pacific Gas and Electric. About two-thirds of these outages were reported in Sonoma and Marin counties.
The utility said more than 3,000 workers and contractors were ready to help restore power. He said he also expected to bring in hundreds of workers from areas less affected by the storm, adding that the equipment had been put in place before the storm.
At San Francisco International Airport, 139 flights were delayed and another 52 were canceled by 10:10 a.m. local time, said Cathy Morrison, airport duty manager.
“The atmospheric river is running a fire hose, if you will, in our area,” said Sean Miller, a meteorologist for the Monterey, Calif., Weather service, the Bay Area forecasting office on Sunday.
An atmospheric river is a concentrated plume of moisture that spans the ocean, usually in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere, Miller said, adding that the current trough was tilted towards the bay. from North.
In the Pacific Northwest, a bomb cyclone, a type of storm known for its declining air pressure, is expected to push the atmospheric river south, affecting areas south of San Francisco, Miller said.
“It’s more typical of something we tend to see in December or January,” he said, stressing that the confluence of the two weather phenomena was “abnormal”.
High winds and heavy rains prompted authorities to close sidewalks on the the golden gate bridge on Sunday. In the East Bay, the organizers of the Alameda County Fair closed the event on Sunday due to the storm, while an Ironman triathlon scheduled for Sunday in Sacramento was canceled.
In San Mateo County, authorities on Sunday morning ordered residents of parts of the county to evacuate. “Please don’t wait,” they said in a declaration.
Elsewhere in the county, CalFire, the state’s firefighting agency, shared a video Sunday morning of a small fire on a road which had probably caught fire after the fall of a pole and a tree. Downed trees have been reported in the upstate.
White, it appeared that most of the flooding was reported in North Bay, landslides and dangerous road conditions were reported in parts of northern California. Images were shared on social media on the Sunday of small and bige landslides, including one in Plumas County showing rock piles blocking a highway.
The California Highway Patrol in Truckee, north of Lake Tahoe, said on twitter Sunday afternoon rocks and water had fallen on the mountainside, blocking a road.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation extending the state of drought emergency in California and called on residents to redouble their water conservation efforts. This is the second driest year on record in California, with near-record storage in the state’s largest reservoirs, the governor’s office said.
Severe drought conditions, made worse by climate change, continue to affect much of the western United States and even the northern part of the Great Plains.
Although droughts are not uncommon in the region, scientists say climate change, in the form of warming temperatures and changes in rainfall, is making the situation worse.