Storms to bring rain, wind, snow and flooding to California
CALIFORNIA — California is at the center of multiple storms expected to bring rain, snow, wind and flooding to the West Coast over the next few days.
The intense precipitation will be especially dangerous in areas devastated by last fall’s wildfires, authorities said.
More than 30 million people are under a flood watch in California, including in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
Central areas of California have already been hit hard, receiving three to eight inches of rain in a day in many locations, according to CNN meteorologist Haley Brink.
The San Francisco area broke a daily record for rainfall on Wednesday, with 2.13 inches of rain, Brink said.
A school bus in Petaluma, California, about 40 miles outside of San Francisco, got stuck in floodwaters on Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate KGO. The outlet reported that two high school students driving to school stopped to help get a student with special needs off the bus.
The heavy rain poses a risk for mudslides and flooding in areas already devastated by last year’s wildfires — which included the most destructive in state history. Burned areas lack vegetation to hold the water in the ground, Ventura County Fire Capt. Stan Ziegler said.
Mandatory evacuation orders, impacting more than 1,000 homes, have been issued for the Holy Fire burn area in Southern California, according to Cal Fire Riverside.
Residents of Shasta County, where both a flood watch and winter storm warning are in effect, are being urged not to travel because of falling trees and downed power lines, the sheriff’s office said.
The county made up the largest portion of the 62,000 customers without power in California Thursday morning, according to the website Poweroutage.us.
The sheriff’s office warned residents there to “prepare for several days of power outages.”
The undersheriff of the Northern California county declared a local state of emergency on Wednesday due to the “significant damage” caused by the recent snowstorm.
An additional three to six feet of snow could fall on parts of Shasta County, as a winter storm warning remains in effect through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
In San Francisco, a high wind warning is in effect until 10 a.m. local time, Brink said.
More than 15 million people are under a high wind threat across the state, she said.
The strongest gusts have been recorded at 75 miles per hour in the Mount St. Helena area, according to the National Weather Service.
In wind-prone areas, gusts as high as 90 mph are possible.