Powerful storm batters parts of Southern California

Published on : Tuesday, October 26, 2021

California

A powerful storm battered Southern California flooding highways, uprooting trees and causing mud flows in areas burned recent fires across the northern part of the state. Incessant showers and strong winds accompanied the moisture pulled in from the Pacific Ocean over the weekend. The National Weather Service’s Sacramento office warned of a “potentially historic rain.”

Flooding was reported across the San Francisco Bay Area, closing streets in Berkeley, inundating Oakland’s Bay Bridge toll plaza and overflowing rivers in Napa and Sonoma counties. Power poles were affected and tens of thousands of people in the North Bay were left without electricity. By Sunday morning, Mount Tamalpais recorded half foot (15 centimeters) of rainfall during the previous 12 hours, as per the weather service.

About 150 miles (241 kilometers) to the north, the California Highway Patrol closed a stretch of State Route 70 in Butte and Plumas counties due multiple landslides within the massive Dixie Fire burn scar. The same storm system also slammed Oregon and Washington State, causing power outages affecting tens of thousands of people. Two people were killed when a tree fell on a vehicle in the greater Seattle area.

Eastside Fire & Rescue responded to the scene of the fatalities near Preston, Washington, about 20 miles east of Seattle. In California’s Colusa and Yolo counties, state highways 16 and 20 were shut for several miles due to mudslides, as per the State Department of Transportation. The burn areas in California have also increased the probability of flash flooding as land devoid of vegetation fails to soak rain water.

In the South of San Francisco, evacuation orders were in effect in the Santa Cruz Mountains over concerns that several inches of rain could trigger debris flows in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire burn scar when the storm moves through early Monday. Further south, parts of western Santa Barbara County saw evacuation warnings upgraded to orders in the area burned by this month’s Alisal Fire.

Strong winds were also expected, with gusts of up to 60 mph (97 kph) at the windiest spots in Northern California. Elevations above 9,000 feet (2,745 meters) in the Sierra Nevada were likely to get 18 inches of snow or more from Sunday until Monday morning. Recent storms have helped contain some of the nation’s largest wildfires this year.

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