California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sunday that at least 12 people had died in the state following a massive onslaught of extensive rain and strong winds.
Newsom has declared a state of emergency as the National Weather Service warns, “The West Coast remains under the target of a relentless parade of cyclones that form and intensify over the Pacific Ocean,” bringing about what it described as “atmospheric rivers” hitting Northern California and the coastline, CBS News reported.
“In the last 10 days, 12 people have lost their lives to these floods,” Newsom said. “These floods are deadly, and have now turned [out] to be more deadly than even the wildfires here in the state.”
On Monday, the White House announced that President Joe Biden had “declared that an emergency exists in the State of California and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from successive and severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides beginning on January 8, 2023, and continuing,” according to a press release.
A new 𝗮𝘁𝗺𝗼𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰 𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 is coming to California. The winter #storm Monday-Tuesday will bring back strong winds, and extensive rainfall. Mudslides and flooding are likely. #CAwx #California #Atmosphericriver
— Windy.com (@Windycom) January 9, 2023
And officials warn the next storm is expected to hit the state Tuesday.
“The cumulative effect of successive heavy rainfall events will lead to additional instances of flooding,” the weather agency added. “This includes rapid water rises, mudslides, and the potential for major river flooding.”
“Susceptible terrain and areas near recent burn scars will be most at risk for debris flows and rapid runoff,” the agency continued.
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) January 6, 2023
Officials in Santa Cruz County also issued an evacuation warning for several areas from Sunday through Tuesday for flooding, with a Flash Flood warning issued by the NWS Bay Area for Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Scotts Valley, on Monday.
KTVU posted a video on Twitter on Monday showing an overhead view of the flooding in Santa Cruz County’s Felton Grove, reporting that “first responders were searching for residents to rescue using jet skis.”
This is a look at the flooding from above in Santa Cruz County's Felton Grove.
First responders were searching for residents to rescue using jet skis on Monday morning. pic.twitter.com/bpndHZeOzV
— KTVU (@KTVU) January 9, 2023
Hundreds of thousands of electric customers also remained without power in the affected areas of the coastline on Monday, according to the tracking database PowerOutage.us.
The storms are also expected to bring heavy snowfall to the Sierra Nevadas “exceeding 6 feet across the higher elevations before the snow tapers off Wednesday morning,” the NWS stated.
“For the higher terrain of the Sierra Nevada, extremely heavy snow and intense snowfall rates are anticipated to make travel very dangerous to impossible at times, including the potential for road closures,” the agency added, noting that the snow accumulation brings increased threats of avalanches.