Storm in California causes rockslides, flooding as heavy rain and snow fall

Northern California storm update: Wilton residents ordered to evacuate due to flooding


Northern California storm update: Wilton residents ordered to evacuate due to flooding

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A powerful storm brought torrential rain or heavy snow to much of California on Saturday, snarling traffic and closing highways as the state prepared to usher in a new year. In the high Sierra Nevada, up to 2 feet of snow could accumulate by early Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento warned of hazardous driving conditions and posted photos on Twitter showing traffic on snowy mountain passes where vehicles were required to have chains or four-wheel drive.

The so called atmospheric river storm it was pulling in a long and large plume of moisture from the Pacific Ocean. Flooding and rock slides closed parts of roads in Northern California.

This photo provided by Micah Crockett of the California Department of Transportation shows heavy machinery removing a slide on State Route 299 in Trinity County, California, December 31, 2022.
This photo provided by Micah Crockett of the California Department of Transportation shows heavy machinery removing a slide on State Route 299 in Trinity County, California, December 31, 2022.

Micah Crockett/Caltrans District 2 via AP


“Too many road closures to count at this point,” the weather service in Sacramento said in an afternoon tweet. Sacramento County urged residents of the unincorporated community of Wilton to evacuate, warning that flooded roads could “cut off access to evacuate the area.”

Officials in Santa Cruz County posted a photo of a large sinkhole that opened up along a road.

Rainfall in downtown San Francisco on Saturday topped 5 inches by midday, making it the second-wettest day on record, behind the deluge of November 1994. As the rain continues to fall, it could threaten the record for nearly three decades.

The California Highway Patrol said a section of US 101 – one of the state’s main thoroughfares – was closed indefinitely south of San Francisco due to flooding. Videos on Twitter showed muddy water flowing down the streets of San Francisco, and a staircase in Oakland turned into a real waterfall due to heavy rain.

Weather Service meteorologist Courtney Carpenter said the storm could drop more than an inch of rain in the Sacramento area before moving south. A ski resort south of Lake Tahoe closed lifts due to flooding and operational problems and posted a photo on Twitter showing a lift tower and its empty chairs surrounded by water.

“We’re seeing a lot of flooding,” Carpenter said.

A storm caused flash flooding in San Carlos, California, December 31, 2022.
A storm caused flash flooding in San Carlos, California, December 31, 2022.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


The Sacramento-based agency released a 24-hour rainfall map through Saturday morning, showing a wide range of rainfall totals in the region, from less than an inch in some areas to more than 5 inches in the Sierra foothills.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area reported numerous lift closures, citing high winds, low visibility and ice.

The Stockton Police Department released photos of a flooded railroad underpass and a car that appeared to be stuck in more than a foot of water.

The rain was welcome in drought-parched California, but much more rainfall is needed to make a significant difference. The past three years have been California’s driest on record.

A winter storm warning was in effect Sunday for the upper Sierra elevations from south of Yosemite National Park to north of Lake Tahoe, where up to 5 feet of snow is possible on the mountaintops, the National Weather Service in Reno said. Nevada.

A flood watch was in effect for much of Northern California until New Year’s Eve. Officials warned that rivers and streams could overflow and urged residents to pack sandbags.

Some rainfall totals in the San Francisco Bay Area exceeded 4 inches.

The state transportation agency reported several road closures, including the 70 Freeway east of Chico, which was partially closed due to a landslide, and the northbound side of the 49 Freeway, east of Sacramento, which was closed due to flooding. In El Dorado County, east of Sacramento, a section of the 50 Freeway was closed due to flooding.

Humboldt County, where a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck on Dec. 20, also saw roads flood, according to the National Weather Service’s Eureka office. A bridge that was temporarily closed last week due to earthquake damage may be closed again if the Heli River, which it crosses, rises too high, officials said.

It was the first of several storms expected to hit California next week. The current system is expected to be warmer and wetter, while next week’s storms will be colder, said Hannah Chandler-Cooley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The Sacramento area could see a total of 4 to 5 inches of rain during the week, Chandler-Cooley said.

“Strong winds could damage trees and lead to power outages, and high waves in Lake Tahoe could capsize small boats,” the weather service in Reno said.

Avalanche warnings were issued for the backcountry around Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes south of Yosemite.

On the eastern front of the Sierra, flash flood watches and warnings were issued over the weekend north and south of Reno, Nevada, where minor to moderate flooding was expected along some rivers and streams.

In Southern California, moderate to heavy rain fell on Saturday. The area will start to dry out in the New Year, with no rain expected during Monday’s Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Another round of heavy rain is forecast for Tuesday or Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

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