SAN FRANCISCO – California declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as a strong storm California’s Bomb Cyclone produced 45-foot waves at sea, dumped drenching rain on already sodden ground, and sparked flood and mudslide fears.
California’s Bomb Cyclone effects will get worsen by the afternoon
The San Francisco Bay Area’s more than 8 million residents should limit travel since the storm’s effects would worsen in the afternoon, the local National Weather Service office advised. As a powerful storm battered parts of the state’s coastline earlier in the day, California Governor Gavin Newsom authorised state National Guard units to bolster disaster response.
In locations thought to be most likely to face severe flooding and mudflows, fire and rescue equipment as well as personnel have been prepositioned.
In the San Francisco area office of the National Weather Service, meteorologist Cynthia Palmer said, “If you’ve still got power, it’s a good idea to charge your smartphone, computers, and tablets now while you can.” Having quick access to storm information and something to watch will be helpful if the power goes out, she said.
The storm is known as a “bomb cyclone” because a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure is anticipated, culminating in a storm of extreme intensity.
According to Rick Canepa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Francisco office, the entire event will last roughly 30 hours. Till Thursday afternoon or early evening, the rain won’t stop.
Forecasters predict that throughout the next week, severe weather could dump 10 inches or more of rain in certain areas of Northern California. According to the National Weather Service, Wednesday’s storm was predicted to down trees, cause widespread flooding, wash out highways, force slopes to cave in, slow down airports, and perhaps result in “loss of human life.”
However, authorities caution that the threat still exists. Forecasters are keeping an eye on additional systems out at sea that might also bring extra precipitation to the area.
Meanwhile, severe weather on Wednesday wasn’t limited to California. Early on Wednesday, a suspected tornado made landfall close to Montgomery, Alabama. The twister damaged more than 50 homes, but there were no fatalities.
Sacramento flood-related fatalities confirmed; motorists saved
According to police, two more deaths were discovered on Wednesday following flooding in a remote area of south Sacramento County, increasing the total number of fatalities from the atmospheric river storm on New Year’s Eve to three.
According to Sgt. Amar Gandhi of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, the third victim was discovered inside a car that was partially immersed in water.
Gandhi stated on Wednesday night that neither the victim nor the incident’s details had been released.
Officers from the California Highway Patrol discovered a woman’s body while removing vehicles that had become stranded due to flooding during the morning.
Authorities found a man’s body inside a submerged car on Sunday. Gandhi added that rescue operations are still being made in Sacramento County.
In other places in Northern California, numerous drivers were rescued from flooded highways and downed trees.
A family was rescued by the San Francisco Fire Department on Wednesday night after becoming trapped by fallen trees on a city road.
There are power disruptions for Californians.
According to Karla Nemeth, head of the California Department of Water Resources, when the ground is saturated by a lot of rain and there are strong gusts, trees are more prone to fall and can result in widespread power outages.
Residents were advised to prepare emergency kits and keep vital gadgets charged in case of storm-related power outages by officials and utility companies.
Wednesday night, about 178,000 households and businesses were without power, according to the outage tracking website PowerOutage.us. The state’s north coast was where the majority of disruptions were reported.
Assisting the homeless during a storm
Magaly Rowell waited for her bus under an umbrella at what passes for a bus shelter close to Precita Park at the base of San Francisco’s Bernal Heights district. She was braving the conditions not because of her work at a security firm, but rather because she regularly feeds the homeless at a neighbouring church, according to Rowell.
As Rowell’s umbrella was pummelling by the rain and rivers of water poured down Folsom Street, she remarked, “It’s not so bad if there’s no wind. “When the wind kicks up like it is today, it gets harder. I am concerned about the homeless. When the weather turns bad, they are the ones that suffer the most.
Orders for evacuations in coastal cities
Authorities in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara issued evacuation orders on Wednesday because the powerful storm poses a serious risk of floods and mudslides to the coastal regions.
Due to the possibility of flooding and debris flows, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown declared during a news conference on Wednesday that mandatory evacuation orders had been issued for residents in burn scar areas.
Due to worries about possible flooding and debris flow from storm conditions, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office repeatedly issued evacuation orders for the southern areas of the county throughout the day on Wednesday.
Flight delays due to a strong storm
The storm is already disrupting flights in the Bay Area due to its strong winds and heavy rain, and more are expected as the storm’s peak draws near.
At San Francisco International Airport as of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 74 flight cancellations, or 8% of all flights.
According to Doug Yakel, the airport’s public information officer, 191 planes have had delays that are currently 35 minutes on average. He told USA TODAY that “delays and cancellations are a result of both the decreased ceilings and winds.”
A representative for Oakland International Airport informed USA TODAY that “our operations team is ready” with regard to regular airport operations at OAK. It is strongly advised for passengers with flights to or from Oakland to check with their airline via their mobile app or website for updates on their flights.
Travel exemptions for aircraft impacted by the “bomb cyclone” in California:
For flights on Wednesday, Southwest Airlines is providing free rebooking for flights to and from Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Jose. Within 14 days of the initial trip date, the rebooking must use the same city pairings and travel dates.
For flights to or from San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and Fresno on Thursday and Friday, Delta Air Lines issued a travel waiver on Wednesday evening. When the new reservation is made for travel on or before January 8, the price difference will not be charged.
Locals prepare for floods
According to business co-owner Karl Aguilar, clients at Papenhausen Hardware in San Francisco were particularly concerned about flooding.
According to Aguilar, “Last week a good number of people were concentrating on the roofs – tiny leaks, windows, and things like that.” “There was a turning moment where mitigation of flooding became much more of a priority. With this specific storm, flood mitigation is everything.
Sandbags and wet/dry vacuum cleaners are available at Bulls Head restaurant’s Grace Daryanani a few doors to the east. She is hopeful that a new outside dining area would help to deflect some of the water because her space has previously flooded during severe storms.
That would be helpful, she said.
An atmospheric river is what?
The storm, which is the second of three or four that may be headed for the California coast, originates over the Pacific. Because it originates above Hawaii, it is referred to as an atmospheric river or, to use a word that was more popular a few years ago, a Pineapple Express.
When a line of warm, moist air moves from close to the islands across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast, it creates storms that dump a lot of rain.
The water vapour turns into heavy rain when it encounters the cooler air over the western landmass. Atmospheric rivers are extensive, moving areas of the atmosphere that spread water vapour throughout a 250–375 mile broad area of the sky. They are capable of carrying more water than the Mississippi River and can reach lengths of more than 1,000 miles.
Hannah Workman from The Record, Dinah Voyles Pulver and Kathleen Wong from USA TODAY, Evan Mealins and Alex Gladden from the Montgomery Advertiser.