Another California is waiting to hit as the atmospheric river departs

Another California is waiting to hit as the atmospheric river departs

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Wet, miserable weather continued across large parts of California Sunday as an atmospheric river that caused major flooding moved east and paved the way for another onslaught of rain and snow that could soon pound the ravaged region again. As of Monday night.

The National Weather Service said the next torrent could exacerbate severe flooding that has engulfed the region in recent days, including a levee failure that prompted mass evacuations Saturday in farming communities near the state’s central coast.

Across Monterey County, more than 8,500 people were under evacuation orders and warnings Saturday, including about 1,700 residents — many of them Latino farmworkers — from the unincorporated community of Pajarro.

The next weather system doesn’t appear to be as strong as the last, but weather officials warned that “significant flooding” could occur at lower elevations from additional rain and snowmelt that could swell creeks and streams.

Rain and snow are expected to extend from central California into Oregon, as well as northern Nevada.

The atmospheric river, known as a “Pineapple Express” because it brought warm subtropical moisture across the Pacific Ocean from near Hawaii, was melting the lower parts of the massive snowpack built up in the California mountains.

Due to extensive flooding early in the weekend, more than 50 people had to be rescued by first responders and the California National Guard. A member of the guard is seen in a video Helping drivers out of vehicles stuck in water up to their waists.

The extent of property damage was still uncertain, but Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chair Luis Alejo asked for help from the state and federal government.

“The need will be great! It will take months to repair the homes of our residents!” He wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared states of emergency in 34 counties in recent weeks, and the Biden administration on Friday morning approved a presidential disaster declaration for some, a move that would bring more federal aid. President Joe Biden spoke with Newsom on Saturday to pledge the federal government’s support for California’s response to the emergency, the White House said.

Weather related Power outage More than 17,000 customers were affected in Monterey County late Saturday night, according to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The governor’s office said it continues to monitor Pajaro’s situation.

The Pajaro River separates the counties of Santa Cruz and Monterey in areas that flooded Saturday. Flood water that entered wells in the area may have been contaminated with chemicals, officials said, and residents were asked not to drink or cook with tap water.

Officials were working along the levee in hopes of narrowing it down between midnight Friday and Saturday when it was breached. Crews began working to fix the levees early Saturday morning while residents slept in evacuation centers.

This week’s storm marked the state’s 10th atmospheric river of winter, with storms bringing heavy rain and snow to the state and helping ease drought conditions that have dragged on for three years. Reservoirs in the state that had dipped to significantly lower levels are now above average for this time of year, prompting state officials to release water from dams to help control flooding and make room for more rain.

In San Francisco, an 85-foot (25.91 m) Eucalyptus trees fell on the Trocadero clubhouse Saturday morning. The 1892 clubhouse, a San Francisco historic landmark, was severely damaged, with parts of the roof collapsing and flooding inside.

A funnel cloud was seen in the Jamestown area — the epicenter of California’s gold rush — Saturday afternoon and the weather service issued a tornado warning — later canceled — for the Sierra Nevada foothills as severe thunderstorms, hail and strong winds blanketed the region. Another set of tornado warnings were briefly issued in Fresno County, about 100 miles (161 km) south of the Gold Country. A flash flood warning was in effect late Saturday in Tuolumne County, with roads around Sonora and neighboring communities submerged.


Dazio reports from Los Angeles.

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