Hundreds of thousands without power as Northern California braces for more severe storms

Hundreds of thousands of Northern California homes and businesses were without power Sunday morning as the area braces for another bout with extreme weather which forecasters say is likely to worsen over the next few days.

A powerful storm, associated with what the National Weather Service described as “a steady stream of atmospheric river events,” is expected to bring heavy rain and snow, potentially in addition to both rock and mudslides, to parts of the Bay Area before beginning to taper off Tuesday.

Although forecasts indicate the most severe weather will arrive closer to Monday, more than 430,000 electric customers throughout the area had lost power by mid-morning Sunday on the West Coast, according to the tracking database PowerOutage.us, which showed nearly half of all tracked customers in Sacramento Municipal The Utility District experienced a power outage.

Counties across the region were placed under a flood watch warning that went into effect early Saturday morning as the first of two atmospheric rivers brought moderate rainfall to some coastal neighborhoods and up to six inches in others, CBS San Francisco reported. The second storm system is expected to bring heavier rain — up to 10 inches in parts of the North Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains — beginning early Monday morning.

“A steady stream of atmospheric river events continues to batter California through early this week, with the most potent system arriving on Monday,” the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office said in an alert. “In this weather pattern, additional rain on saturated soils will cause significant flooding impacts, including rapid water surges, mudslides and burning scars.”

Massive storm brings torrential rain and damaging winds to California
Debris is seen piled up in front of a restaurant after a massive storm hit the area on January 6, 2023, in Capitola, California.

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The office noted that “widespread mountain snow and high winds will also cause problems across the state,” while forecasters at the National Weather Service warned that snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains could exceed five feet as the more powerful storm system rolls in.

“The West Coast remains under target for a relentless parade of cyclones forming and intensifying across the Pacific Ocean as they move directly toward the North American continent,” the National Weather Service wrote in a bulletin, which is valid from Sunday to Tuesday.

“Two major episodes of heavy rain and snow in the mountains are expected to affect northern and central California over the next couple of days,” the agency said, adding that the expected “onslaught” of precipitation could prove particularly damaging because coming on the heels of others strong storms which has affected parts of the state since the end of last month.

“With terrain already saturated from previous rainfall, additional heavy rains will lead to an increased threat of flooding and rapid rise in river levels,” the National Weather Service warned. “The length and intensity of rain, combined with the cumulative effect of successive heavy rain events dating back to late December, will lead to widespread and potentially significant flooding impacts.”

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