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Evacuations near central California dam as storm surges rivers, breaks rainfall records

mighty rivers. Rock slide. Flooded towns.

The 11th atmospheric river storm of the season left a trail of sodden misery across California by smashing decades-long rainfall records and breaching levees this week.

In the city of Porterville, Tulare County, residents on both sides of the Tule River were ordered to evacuate On Wednesday morning, as levels rose in Success Lake, water overflowed the Schafer Dam spillway.

“The amount of water coming off the slopes is elevated and (has) accelerated the need for us to get out of the area,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said. he said in a video update around 1 a.m., noting officials going door-to-door to evacuate residents.

About 100 homes lie between the spillway and Highway 284, Boudreaux said. Emergency shelters are open at the Exeter Veterans Memorial Building, Porterville College Gym, and Dinuba Memorial Hall.

Lake Success experienced a significant increase in inflows overnight, with approximately 19,064 cubic feet of water per second as of Wednesday morning. according to state data. Visalia and Porterville have declared a state of emergency.

Elsewhere in the state, storm clouds were beginning to clear Wednesday, though many impacts are expected to persist.

Nearly 200,000 people were without power across the state, many in the San Francisco Bay Area, where classes were canceled in more than a dozen schools in Cupertino.

In the Los Angeles area, mud and trees fell down a hillside in Baldwin Hills overnight, trapping several cars. Multiple daily rain records settled by wide margins Tuesday, including 2.54 inches at Santa Barbara, breaking a record of 1.36 inches set in 1952, and 2.25 inches at Oxnard, surpassing the 1930 mark of 1.46 inches. Los Angeles International Airport saw 1.97 inches, breaking a record of 0.43 inches set in 1982.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, heavy rains melted dense snow and sent torrents of water down the streets. in sacramento, reports from surfers and kayakers in the rising American River prompted warnings from the county.

The Fresno Fire Department responded to an apartment complex where a very large tree had collapsed on the building, displacing at least five adults and five children, spokesman Jonathan Lopez-Galvan said. The tree also damaged two vehicles and brought down a power pole, though there were no injuries.

Perhaps the most lasting impact of the storm will be on the flooded community of Pajaro in Monterey County. A levee breach on the Pajaro River late Friday sent stormwater into the migrant town of about 3,000 people, prompting widespread evacuations and cutting off drinking water in the area.

State and county officials were working to stabilize the breach, but there was no official timeline for when it would be fixed.

“We want people to return to their homes as soon as possible, and we will do everything we can to make that happen,” county spokesman Nicholas Pasculli said during a news conference Tuesday. “But there are going to be cases, for sure, where people won’t be able to return to some of their homes.”

Officials were also keeping a close eye on the nearby Salinas River, which remained swollen at Bradley and Spreckels Wednesday morning.

“They’re still in flood stage on the gauges, and it’s going to take a while for them to recede,” said Jeff Lorber, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Bay Area.

Although the rains have mostly stopped, additional increases in rivers are expected due to runoff, Lorber said. “It’s still very saturated, the ground, so it will take a while for the accumulated moisture in the mountains to seep into the valleys.”

In southern California, officials were just as vigilant about the Conejo Creek in Camarillowhich peaked on Wednesday morning and stimulated a flood alert In the area. Flooding is expected on roads, including around the Ventura community of Leisure Village, said Rose Schoenfeld, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard.

The storm caused incidents of “mud and rock slides on highways and overnight roadway flooding,” Schoenfeld said, including flooding on the 105 Freeway near Long Beach Boulevard. “For sure there are travel impacts across the region.”

Santa Barbara County authorities reported that the storm had created a waterfall at Tucker’s Grove Park, noting that “flowing water will find its way into San Antonio Creek and eventually drain into the ocean.”

In Orange County, Supervisor Katrina Foley local state of emergency declared Tuesday to support responses to the storm in the area, triggered in part by a hillside collapse in Newport Beach that threatened some homes and collapsed a chunk of cliff.

“My hope is that there won’t be any more landslides on the shoreline, but if these three houses fall, a cascading effect can occur to the other 50 houses on the cliff and we need to be prepared in case that happens,” Foley said in a statement. release. .

Governor Gavin Newsom expanded his state of emergency Tuesday night to include Orange, Alpine and Trinity counties, meaning 43 of California’s 58 counties are now covered by the proclamation. More than 30 flood watches and warnings are current from the National Weather Service.

Forecasters said the rain should subside in most areas by Wednesday afternoon. However, another atmospheric river is likely to hit the state next week.