May 29, 2023 9:38 pm

California weather: Another winter storm as thousands without power

Thousands of California residents remained without power after a weekend of heavy rain and flooding, as yet another storm bears down on the state.

Heavy rainfall is expected to sweep across the state on Monday and intensify on Tuesday, particularly across its northern and central region.

At least 13 people have died so far amid storms that have hit the state in quick succession.

Parts of the East Coast are also currently under a winter storm watch.

Some counties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut could see as much as 10in (25cm) of snow on Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

Further snowfall is also anticipated in western Wisconsin and much of Minnesota – where the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have already recorded 80in of snow this winter, their eighth snowiest season on record.

California starts the week with its 11th “atmospheric river” storm since late December.

Atmospheric rivers are narrow bands of moisture that produce heavy rainfall and snow when they make landfall.

These weather systems occur when water evaporates into the air and is carried along by the wind, forming long currents that flow in the sky like rivers flow on land.

The NWS predicted “very heavy rainfall”, snowmelt in mountainous regions and strong winds, with the worst conditions “occurring late during the day Monday, continuing through the day on Tuesday”.

In addition to heavy rainfall, the San Francisco Bay Area could see wind gusts up to 40 to 50mph (64 to 80kph).

“Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks,” the weather service added. “Extensive street flooding and flooding of creeks and rivers is likely.”

Thousands were evacuated on Saturday from Pajaro, a low-income agricultural migrant worker community in northern California famous for its strawberry crop, after the Pajaro River’s levee was breached by flooding.

In Monterey County, first responders rescued about 200 people – most of those rescues happened near the Pajaro River, according to Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto.

Fearing floodwater may have contaminated wells with chemicals, officials told residents in the area not to drink or cook with tap water.

More than 9,500 residents across the state were still without power as of Monday morning.

Thirteen people have died since snowstorms hit California from late February.

Two of those deaths have so far been confirmed to be storm-related, while eight others are under investigation.

Twenty-two other deaths have been recorded amid the foul weather in the state since January.

A state of emergency has been issued in 40 of California’s 58 counties to support storm response.

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