California Bomb Cyclone Caused Death and Destruction: Photos

  • A massive storm hit Northern California this week, killing several residents.
  • A 19-year-old teenager and a 2-year-old toddler died as a result of the storm.
  • Wednesday’s Level 5 storm reportedly toppled trees, overturned a gas station and flooded roads.

A bomb cyclone, driven by an “atmospheric river,” slammed into northern California this week, causing flooding and high winds throughout the region.

At least two people in the San Francisco Bay area — a 19-year-old and a toddler — died because of Wednesday’s storm, ABC7 reported.

According to, at least 170,000 people across California were still without power Thursday morning.

Images of the aftermath of Wednesday’s storm, as well as a New Year’s Eve storm that hit the same area, show flooded streets, sinkholes and downed trees across northern California.

A car appeared at the windows of a flooded street

A car is submerged in floodwaters on a street in Oakland, CA on Wednesday.

Godofredo A. Vásquez/AP

A crew repairs a large sinkhole on a street

In Daly City, a New Year’s Eve storm caused a large sinkhole, which crews began repairing Tuesday.

Haven Daley/AP

The ABC7 Storm Impact Scale categorized Wednesday’s downpour as a Level 5 storm, the first in the scale’s history.

ABC7 defines a Level 5 as three or more inches of rain, including “extreme flooding, impassable roads and multi-day power outages.” On Thursday, the storm had been downgraded to level 3.

The storm brought destruction throughout Northern California.

A tree has fallen across a forest road with crews working to remove it

Several trees fell across Highway 101 in Humboldt County, with a crew working to remove them Wednesday.

Caltrans District 1 via AP

Large boulders fell onto a highway in California

A storm on New Year’s Eve caused several large boulders to fall onto Highway 50 in El Dorado National Park earlier this week.

Caltrans District 3 via AP

CBS News Bay Area reported that gusts reached up to 60 mph in valleys and up to 80 mph in areas above 1,000 feet, causing large trees to topple over roads and homes.

In Sonoma County, according to ABC7, a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler died when a tree fell on their home Wednesday night. Firefighters were unable to revive the child at the scene.

And in Fairfield, Calif., about 47 miles north of San Francisco, ABC7 reported that a 19-year-old died while driving on a partially flooded road early Thursday morning.

Police told ABC7 that her car hydroplaned, causing her to lose control and crash into a utility pole. The police also said that the woman may have been driving too fast for the conditions.

Residents fill sandbags full of dirt in preparation

South San Francisco residents filled sandbags in preparation for Wednesday’s storm.

Haven Daley/AP

a gas station canopy toppled over gas pumps

Strong winds toppled a gas station in Daly City during Wednesday’s storm.

Godofredo A. Vásquez/AP

ABC7 reported that in Daly City, the gusts were so strong they toppled the canopy over a gas station and crushed the gas pumps underneath.

Officials have warned that the bad weather is unfortunately not over.

Cindy Palmer, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, told SF Gate that the area is “going to stay wet.”

“The storms are in a row right now. Wednesday’s storm was one in a row,” she told SF Gate. “It’s a series of storms, one right after the other, at least through the next seven days if not more than that.”

Correction: 6 January 2023 An earlier version of this story said that bomb cyclones and atmospheric rivers are the same thing. Atmospheric rivers can fuel bomb cyclones. The story also mixed two storms that hit the same region. The two storms hit on New Year’s Eve and January 4.

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