California is bracing for more severe weather as four additional storms are heading toward the Golden State.
The recent severe weather in California has led to 18 deaths so far, with a phenomenon known as “atmospheric rivers” — long, narrow corridors of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere — responsible for the recent storms, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
“We expect these storms to continue at least through the 18th of this month,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. “The magnitude of this is not isolated in smaller communities. It is scaled across the largest state in our union.”
Newsom’s office warned California residents to be wary of “heavy rainfall, extreme winds, and dangerous conditions.”
Storms are expected to continue through the weekend.
“The state has been experiencing drought for the last four years, and now we have storm upon storm,” California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis told CNN on Wednesday. “We’ve had six storms in the last two weeks. This is the kind of weather you would get in a year and we compressed it just into two weeks.”
“We have had five atmospheric rivers come into California over two weeks,” Kounalakis said. “Everything is wet. Everything is saturated. Everything is at a breaking point, and there is more rain coming.”
The state’s long drought period has not helped things, with the terrain so damaged that the soil struggles to absorb the incoming rainfall, leading to the potential for dangerous flash flooding.
According to the National Weather Service, many areas across the state registered 50% to 70% of their average annual rainfall just since the torrential rain events began on December 26.
Flood watches were in effect Wednesday for Northern and Central California, which included Sacramento, Redding, and the North Bay.
“While there is a bit of a break today, we continue to see additional storms prepared to come onshore in the next two days,” Brian Ferguson, spokesperson for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said Wednesday. “We’re continued (sic) to be concerned about our streams, our culverts, and some of the areas that are prone to mudslides, particularly along our central coast.”
Storms in California over the last couple of weeks have left more than 130,000 homes and businesses without power while causing landslides, toppling trees, and causing sinkholes that swallowed up cars.
“The endless stream of atmospheric river events will re-focus on Wednesday across northern California,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Once again, heavy to excessive rain on already saturated ground may produce more flooding.”