Flood warnings and watches were in effect on Monday in parts of northern California in the aftermath of a powerful “atmospheric river” storm that drenched the state over New Year’s weekend.
A new weather system was predicted by afternoon or evening, but the National Weather Service said the rain would be modest until the arrival late on Tuesday of another strong atmospheric river, a long plume of Pacific Ocean moisture.
Even with the respite from drenching rains and heavy snowfall, flood warnings and watches remained in effect in the Sacramento county area, where widespread flooding and levee breaches in the agricultural region inundated roads and highways.
Emergency crews rescued motorists on New Year’s Eve into Sunday morning. Crews on Sunday found one person dead inside a submerged vehicle near Highway 99, Dan Quiggle, deputy fire chief for operations for Cosumnes Community Service district fire department, told the Sacramento Bee.
Sacramento county authorities issued an evacuation order late on Sunday for residents of the low-lying community of Point Pleasant near Interstate 5, citing imminent and dangerous flooding. Residents of the nearby communities of Glanville Tract and Franklin Pond were told to prepare to leave before more roadways were cut off by rising water and evacuation becomes impossible.
Rainfall in downtown San Francisco hit 5.46in (13.87cm) on New Year’s Eve, making it the second-wettest day on record, behind a November 1994 deluge, the National Weather Service said.
In southern California, several people were rescued after floodwaters inundated cars in San Bernardino and Orange counties. No major injuries were reported.
The rain was welcomed in drought-parched California. The past three years have been the state’s driest on record, but much more precipitation is needed to make a significant difference.