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One of the wildest storms of California’s ‘extraordinary’ season recedes, but flood dangers remain


Heavy rain and damaging winds will gradually subside Wednesday as one of the wildest storms of the season makes its way out of the Golden State.

The notorious “bomb cyclone” rocked the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast, killing at least one person and seriously injuring several others while downing trees and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands. The storm brought hurricane-force winds as it developed two “eyes,” or areas of low pressure, that swirled around each other in what’s known as the Fujiwhara effect, forecasters said.

“Wow. Even by the standards of what has turned out to be one of our most extraordinary winter seasons in a long time, yesterday (Tuesday) stands out,” said the National Weather Service said.

The force of the storm, which brought wind gusts of up to 70 mph on the Monterey County coast and 80 mph in the mountains, caught even some forecasters by surprise.

“From a large-scale image, there was a lot of potential energy to convert to energy and motion, or kinetic energy, and it equated to a lot of wind and a fair amount of rain,” said Rick Canepa, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the California Area. the Bay. “It just turned and fully strengthened over our forecast area.”

As many as 244,000 customers were without power in the region Tuesday night, according to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Initial assessments found 42 damaged poles and 23 storm-damaged transformers.

Some 121,000 people remained without power across the state Wednesday morning, according to outage trackers.

The California Department of Transportation responded to “dozens and dozens” of reports of flooding, downed trees and power lines that clogged traffic, sometimes for hours, as cars became trapped between two energized wires in the highway, spokesman Kevin said. Drabinski.

“We have five counties in our district,” he said of the area from Monterey to Santa Barbara. “There isn’t one that hasn’t been affected by flooding and downed trees, it’s everywhere.”

Large stretches of the 9 and 236 Freeways in Santa Cruz County remained closed Wednesday as crews worked to clear roads, he said.

The last gasp of the storm is expected to bring more rain to the region through Wednesday night, but only about a half inch along the coast and valleys and an inch in the Santa Lucia and Santa Cruz mountains. Canepa said.

The chance of rain will decrease throughout the day as the storm loses power and moves southeast.

But as storm conditions dissipate in the Bay Area, the Central Valley is bracing for more rain and possible flooding as the system moves in its direction. TO Flood watch is in effect for a large swath of the region stretching from Merced to Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo.

The weakened system could still bring strong thunderstorms to southern Fresno County, along with an additional half-inch of rain in the San Joaquin Valley and an inch in the Sierra Nevada foothills, said Bill South, a meteorologist with the weather service in Hanford. An additional two feet of snow is possible at elevations above 6,000 feet.

The flood watch has less to do with precipitation totals than “what happened before this event,” South said, including heavy rain and low-lying snowmelt.

“Many of the rivers, streams and creeks are running at or just below capacity right now, so any additional rain today will either cause additional flooding or worsen ongoing flooding,” he said.

Tulare County officials estimate about 10,000 county acres are under water due to recent snowmelt and storm surges, he added.

Videos shared by the San Joaquin Valley news outlet SJV water they show lower Corcoran in nearby Kings County transformed into a “sea”.

Thousands of people are still under evacuation orders in Tulare County, where officials continue to monitor high levels in the Tule River and release water from Success Lake. Nearly 24,000 structures in the area are threatened, said Daniel Potter, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, who is helping with the emergency response in the area.

Potter said crews have been able to repair most of the levee breaks that caused flooding in the area, and will patrol Wednesday as the storm brings more rain before gradually drying out overnight.

Southern California is also bracing for more rain after a wet and stormy day Tuesday. set daily rainfall records in the area, including 1.53 inches at the Long Beach airport, which surpassed the previous record of 0.82 inches set in 1983.

Downtown Los Angeles received 1.43 inches, breaking its 130-year record of 1.34 inches set in 1893.

The region fared much better than the Bay Area, although highway flooding, debris flows and high winds were reported.

However, flood warnings will remain in effect through Wednesday afternoon in areas from Oxnard to San Diego, including much of the Los Angeles basin. Isolated showers and a brief chance of thunderstorms are expected to decrease as the day progresses.

High temperatures in Los Angeles are expected to remain in the 50s, 12-18 degrees below normal.

TO winter storm warning It is also in effect in the San Bernardino Mountains until 5 a.m. Thursday, where wind gusts to 60 mph and up to 14 inches of fresh snow are possible. Blizzard conditions there earlier this month trapped dozens of residents and resulted in more than a dozen deaths.

The rest of the week should be cool and dry, forecasters said, but there is a chance more showers could develop across the state starting Monday.

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