Nearly 25,000 displaced in California, river floods homes; at least 19 dead

 Saturday, January 14, 2023 


The Salinas River in California began to overflow its banks on Friday morning, flooding highways leading to surrounding settlements where more than 24,000 people were ordered to evacuate as yet another storm battered the state.

Farmers worked quickly to build berms to defend their fields in Monterey County, right off California’s central coast, while people piled sandbags or fled before rising water shut off access to their homes.

To the north, officials in San Francisco issued a flood warning and encouraged residents to avoid needless travel over the weekend.

The storms on Friday were the most recent in a series of so-called atmospheric rivers that have flooded California since late December. At least 19 people have died as a result of the storms, which have flooded inland areas and created three-story-high waves along the coast.

AccuWeather believes that the storms have caused up to $34 billion in damage so far.

Monterey County Chief Public Information Officer Nick Pasculli visited the area on Friday morning, when he saw murky water creep across secondary and tertiary highways and farmers rush to preserve their possessions.

On Thursday, rain-soaked Californians took advantage of a little respite from the weeks-long downpour to cart away dead trees, repair downed power lines, and construct new sandbag stacks.

The National Weather Service predicted that at least two more storm systems would pound California and the Pacific Northwest starting Friday and continuing through the weekend, including another atmospheric river, systems of concentrated moisture poured into California from the tropical Pacific.

Over the last two weeks, the state has been slammed by seven of these weather systems.

The massive rains have alleviated but not eliminated California’s historic drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday. The state is no longer classified as being in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst classifications, although much of the state is still classified as being in moderate or severe drought.

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