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Communities along the central coast to the southern Sierra are hardest hit by the latest storm


After atmospheric river storms tore through large swaths of California, causing massive flooding and triggering widespread evacuation orders from the central coast to the southern Sierras, forecasters warned Saturday that “we’re not done yet.”

Flash flood warnings remain in effect for parts of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Tulare and Sonoma counties, according to the National Weather Service. Significant flooding was reported in the Springville area of ​​Tulare County, where officials conducted dozens of water rescues Friday morning, and in Kernville, where the roaring Kern River surrounded some houses and mobile homesspurring evacuations.

The main concern is the threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon, said Gerald Meadows, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford. The greatest risk, he said, is from the southern edge of Tulare County and the northern edge of Kern County, north through the San Joaquin Valley.

“We can see winds in excess of 45 miles per hour in gusts from any thunderstorm or increased rain potential,” Meadows said. “It’s just going to exacerbate any flooding issues that we’re already seeing.”

A tenth to a quarter inch of rain is expected in the valley, with a quarter inch to a half inch of precipitation in the Sierra Foothills and higher ground, according to Meadows.

In Monterey County, a levee along the Pajaro River, three miles upstream from the city of Pajaro, breached late Friday, according to Nicholas Pasculli, a county spokesman.

He said patrols had noticed boils “bubbling on adjacent farmland” at 11 pm. “That was the first sign that there was a problem,” he said.

Thirty minutes later, the dam collapsed. “It was a small section initially, but as of this morning the fault is about 100 feet wide,” she said.

He said the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Watsonville Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, issued a second round of evacuation notices around 11:30 p.m. Friday.

Although they had done one earlier in the day, at 3:00 pm, many residents had stayed where they were. “So we went back and made sure to stay there until we could get people out safely and into shelters,” he said.

More rain is on the way, forecasters have warned.

Although most of the precipitation fell in the last 36 hours, Meadows said Saturday morning that “we have another event on the horizon early next week that will bring a significant amount of precipitation.”

While it won’t be as much as moved through Friday, he said, “with slightly higher snow levels or expected melt range, we may see just as many, if not more, flood impacts.”

“One of the big messages that we want to get across especially to the people of the San Joaquin Valley, as well as the Sierra foothills, is that even though it’s clearing up and it’s not raining very hard right now, we’re still not over this. Meadows said. “Impacts are going to increase, and thunderstorms can change that pretty quickly.”

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