Published on : Sunday, February 19, 2017
The rain headed towards Northern California and could pose a threat to Oroville Dam, where rising water levels may test the limits of its damaged spillway.
Storms are due to start overnight Saturday and linger through Monday, with two to four inches of widespread rain expected. Some areas may get up to 10 inches.
Meantime, power is still out and cars still submerged across Southern California. More than 131,000 customers lost power on Friday night, officials said. Sinkholes, localized floods, and downed trees and power lines also were reported.
Strongest storm this season
In Victorville, San Bernardino County, one person was found dead Friday in a flooded vehicle, fire-fighters said. A second storm victim, a 55-year-old man, was electrocuted Friday in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, the fire department said.
The storm proved harrowing for one Los Angeles driver on Friday night, when the road beneath her car gave out, plunging her to the bottom of a 20-foot sinkhole.
The rain was so furious, a parking garage in Los Angeles turned into a waterfall.
Rainfall totals by the National Weather Service showed parts of Santa Barbara County have seen more than seven inches of rain in two days. Parts of Ventura County have seen totals of more than six inches.
The storm has also blanketed higher elevations with snow. Winter storm warnings were posted Saturday morning. National Weather Service said snow showers and gusting winds were expected.
Oroville Dam ‘is holding up’
Officials near Oroville Dam are watching the incoming rain after evacuations were ordered earlier this week when a swollen Lake Oroville and a damaged spillway at the dam led to a flash-flood threat.
On Tuesday, officials downgraded the evacuation order to a warning, allowing 188,000 evacuees from Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties to return home.
“We have generated a large volume of storage space so we can take on a very big storm,” said Bill Croyle, acting director of the California Department of Water Resources
“The dam is holding up, it’s structurally sound,” said Jay Smith, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
However, The new round of rainfall brings more worries for communities south of the dam.