Flooding and heavy snowfall hit California during atmospheric storms

(Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP Photo) A local resident walks her dog after a series of storms on Wednesday, April 8.

Santa Cruz, California • Evacuations were ordered in northern California on Friday after a new atmospheric flow brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and high winds, swelling rivers and creeks and flooding several major highways during the morning commute.

In Santa Cruz County, a rain-filled creek destroyed part of Main Street in Soquel, a town of 10,000, isolating several neighborhoods. Crews were working to clear trees and other debris and find a way for people to cross the creek, county officials said.

County authorities urged city residents to stay indoors. In southeast Watsonville, officials ordered people in low-lying areas to evacuate.

Heather Wingfield, a teacher who runs a small urban farm with her husband in Soquel, said she and her neighbors were initially trapped in their homes as Bates Creek sped through what was once Main Street.

“It’s terrible,” she said. “Hopefully nobody has a medical emergency.”

Wingfield said her neighbors’ water infrastructure was also washed out, but her family’s well would provide her with running water. She said the flooding has not yet affected her farm, where families in the neighborhood pick pumpkins, squashes and sunflowers every summer.

Wingfield said living near Soquel Creek meant being aware there might be flooding, but “never did I think it would wash out a culvert.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, flooding blocked portions of several major freeways, including Interstate 580 in Oakland, disrupting traffic.

As the storm approached, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared emergencies in 21 counties in addition to earlier declarations for 13 counties. He requested an emergency declaration from the president to authorize federal aid.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP Photo) A worker clears snow from the roof of Skyforest Elks Lodge Wednesday, March 8, 2023, in Rimforest, California, after a series of storms.

The atmospheric flow, known as the “Pineapple Express” because it brought warm subtropical moisture from near Hawaii across the Pacific, melted the lower portions of the vast snowpack covered in the California mountains by nine atmospheric flows during early winter and later storms was fueled arctic air blast.

Snowpack at high elevations is so massive that it was expected to be able to absorb the rain, but snowmelt was expected at elevations below 1,219 meters (4,000 feet), forecasters said.

The California Department of Water Resources also activated its Flood Response Center.

Flood control water releases were underway or planned for some reservoirs that were depleted during the three-year drought and filled by the winter’s exceptional rain and snowfall.

Releases were scheduled to begin late Friday morning from the state’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, which collects water from the Feather River in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the northern Sacramento Valley.

The lake level has risen about 178 feet since December 1st. The drains are designed to ensure that there is room for heavy drainage.

Ted Craddock, deputy director of the State Water Project, on Thursday expressed his confidence in the 1960s Oroville Dam, where thousands of people had to be evacuated in 2017 after a powerful runoff caused the main spillway to collapse and the emergency spillway to erode started.

“The spillway has been reconstructed to modern standards and we are very confident that it can pass the rivers entering Lake Oroville,” he said.

Forecasters warned mountain travel could be difficult if not impossible during the latest storm. At high altitudes, the storm was forecast to dump heavy snow of up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) over several days.

Snow cover in California’s Sierra Nevada, which provides about a third of the state’s water supply, is more than 180% of its April 1 average when it historically peaks.

Another atmospheric flow is already forecast for early next week. State climatologist Michael Anderson said a third appears to be taking shape over the Pacific, and possibly a fourth.

California appeared “on track for a fourth year of drought” ahead of the early winter series of storms, Anderson said. “We’re in a very different state now,” he said.

So much snow has fallen in the Sierra and other mountain ranges that residents struggle to dig out the snow for days after previous storms.

A storm reached blizzard status in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles in late February. Roofs collapsed, cars were buried and roads blocked.

This week, firefighters and paramedics began delivering prescription drugs to residents who still cannot leave their homes, said Fire Captain Steve Concialdi, a spokesman for San Bernardino County Emergency Response.

On the far north shore, Humboldt County authorities organized an emergency relief effort to feed starving cattle stranded in the snow.

Cal Fire and US Coast Guard helicopters began dropping cattle into bales of hay in remote mountain fields last weekend, and then the California National Guard was called in to expand the effort.


Rodriguez reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writer John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2023/03/11/floods-heavy-snow-hit-california/ Flooding and heavy snowfall hit California during atmospheric storms

Justin Scacco

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@internetcloning.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button