“Catastrophic floods” expected in California due to another storm

“Catastrophic floods” expected in California due to another storm

Posted on Saturday January 14, 2023 at 07:08

Central California is at risk of “catastrophic flooding” this weekend, meteorologists said, as the eighth straight storm hits a wetland unable to absorb more rain.

The most populous state in the United States has been hit for three weeks by rainfall that borders historical records. Between floods, landslides, widespread power outages and downed trees, this series of storms has claimed at least 19 lives, according to authorities.

A new low pressure system hit California on Friday and authorities in the middle of the state are particularly concerned.

According to forecasts, the Monterey Peninsula may find itself cut off from the world by rising waves, and the entire city of Salinas, with a population of 160,000, may be flooded.

“The entire lower Salinas Valley will experience catastrophic flooding,” the US Weather Service (NWS) warned.

“The entire city of Salinas is at risk of flooding. Most of Castroville will be flooded. All roads near the Salinas River will be flooded and become impassable,” he added, with more than 36,000 hectares of farmland expected to be inundated.

The Salinas River, already swollen from weeks of heavy rain, was expected to peak on Friday, flooding its banks and causing flooding that could last into Sunday.

Kelly O’Connell, a resident of the affected area, is concerned after a dam bursts near her home.

“If they release the water from the dams or if it rains more, we’re only a field away,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle, as she sandbaged her home.

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– Island –

Many areas in the region are under evacuation orders, and the Monterey Peninsula could find itself cut off from the world if roads are cut off by waves.

“Residents of the Peninsula and Salinas area should expect to be quarantined for two to three days,” Monterey County officials warned earlier this week.

Local Sheriff Tina Nieto warned that “the Monterey Peninsula could become an island” due to flooding, and told residents to prepare to avoid being trapped in floods.

“This is a slow-moving event,” she explained, and not all venues will be affected at the same time.

Local resident John Guru took no chances. He stored four days’ worth of provisions in his house and two days in his car in case he got trapped on the road.

“I don’t know how serious this is,” Guru told the Monterey Herald.

A series of storms has hit California in recent weeks. The lulls are short-lived and barely give the authorities time to clean up the mess before the next flood.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses have lost electricity at various times.

And it’s not over, according to meteorologists.

“The current unstable weather in the west of the country (…) unfortunately continues into this weekend, with two more rounds of heavy rain forecasts,” the NWS warned.

– black sequence –

In the mountains, this precipitation translates into heavy snowfall, with more than a meter expected during the Sierra Nevada weekend. It is enough to make travel dangerous or impossible.

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At least 19 people have died since the beginning of this dark series. In particular, drivers in their cars were found trapped by waves, people were hit by fallen trees, a couple was killed in a landslide and bodies were washed away by floods.

California is used to extreme weather conditions, and winter storms are common. However, such a sequence of deluge is out of the ordinary.

While it is difficult to establish a direct link between this series of storms and climate change, scientists regularly explain that warming increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

However, the heavy rains of the past few weeks will not be enough to end the drought that has hit this western American state hard for two decades.

“A few weeks of storms isn’t enough given the drought in California, but it’s certainly welcome,” Jay Lund, director of the University of California, Davis, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to experts, several winters of above-normal precipitation would be needed to compensate for the drought of recent years.

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