Monday, January 9, 2023

Sacramento loses electricity due to high winds as another storm front approaches California

Extreme winds knock out power in Sacramento as California faces another onslaught of storms

 As the state prepared for yet another series of storms this week that could bring additional flooding, more outages, and tree damage, as well as dangerous mudslides and mountain snow, heavy winds pounded the Sacramento, California, region late on Saturday, toppling trees and knocking out power for over 300,000 customers.

In the Sacramento region, wind speeds reached nearly 70 mph late Saturday night and early Sunday. According to the Sacramento Fire Department, a homeless woman was killed when a falling tree struck her.

About 62,000 customers remained without power as of Sunday evening. According to a Sacramento Municipal Utility District spokesperson, the company had dozens of workers on the ground, but some customers would lose power overnight due to the storm's extensive damage.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District's fire captain, Parker Wilbourn, stated that they were responding with "all hands on deck." He said that the storm on Saturday night was especially devastating because it came after the city had already experienced rain, power outages, and flooding.

The storm came after a week of downpours that flooded a lot of California and cut down a lot of trees. Six people were killed, including a toddler whose Sonoma County home was struck by a tree.

Wilbourn stated, "Each one of these storms really just compounds on the previous storm." He stated that the issue at hand is what will transpire in the event of additional rain in the coming days. Our soils already have too much water. Therefore, it would only require a few additional inches of rain before another catastrophic event could occur.

A family of atmospheric rivers, which are massive clouds of water vapor, are rapidly impacting the state. The strongest is expected to arrive Monday and Tuesday, reviving meteorologists' concerns about widespread damage.

According to Sunday morning forecasters at the Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service, "The West Coast remains under the target of a relentless parade of cyclones that form and intensify over the Pacific Ocean while moving directly toward the North American continent."

Over the course of Saturday night, significant amounts of snow and rain fell in Northern and Central California, but by Sunday, many areas had begun to clear.

The morning sun shone through scattered clouds in San Francisco, where people took advantage of the dry weather. For a trash pickup with a disco theme, more than fifty volunteers gathered at Manny's, a cafe and civic gathering place in the city's Mission District. As volunteers of all ages, dressed in disco ball necklaces and orange construction vests, gathered gloves and equipment and spread out on the surrounding blocks, music played in the cafe.

Even though a group meets every Sunday to help beautify the neighborhood, the group did more outreach to get more volunteers to clean up after the storm. Rosamand Carr, a 26-year-old financial analyst who attended the cleanup, stated, "Everyone was extra pumped up today to hit the ground running and gather after everyone’s been alone in their house during the rainstorms."

All things considered, she is preparing herself for the following clump of tempests. " She stated, "I have my book and my puzzles." In the event that she loses power, she has candles and flashlights on hand and has filled several water bottles. Aside from that, we are mentally preparing to hide inside," she stated.

Elijah Kaplan, a 29-year-old video editor who lives in the Presidio neighborhood, had accepted the fact that he would have to wait longer to make major repairs to his apartment, which is situated beneath a hill and has experienced daily water seepage into the walls. He has taken to dodging knee-deep mud in hiking boots to dig a trench to divert water away from his house, but he is aware that more storms are on the way.

Kaplan stated, "It has been a tremendous amount of pain and disruption to all of our lives, but we also acknowledge that we have been living through a drought." Even this torrential amount of rain is insufficient to meet California's requirements.

The "main show" begins on Monday morning, according to some Los Angeles weather forecasters. Monday will see the beginning of a powerful atmospheric river in the northern part of the state before it moves south throughout the day and into Tuesday.

The Weather Prediction Center says that many places might only get one or two inches of rain every five or ten years.

Most places could see 2 to 4 inches of rain, but the coast, coastal ranges, and western slope of the Sierra could see more than 8 inches.

The Weather Prediction Center stated on Sunday morning that "the duration and intensity of rain, combined with the cumulative effect of successive heavy rain events dating back to the end of December, will lead to widespread and potentially significant flood impacts."

According to the forecasters, minor to isolated major river flooding, possibly with record river levels, was anticipated.

Additionally, damaging winds of up to 60 mph were forecast for Monday and Tuesday, which could result in even more widespread power outages throughout the region. A brief tornado may form near or along portions of the central California coast during the storm.

Gov. Gavin Newsom emphasized the threat posed by this storm at a news conference on Sunday afternoon. He stated, "These floods are deadly and have now become more deadly than even the California wildfires."

According to him and other officials, the state had prepared resources, such as rescue helicopters, deep water vehicles, and temporary shelters, to deal with the upcoming rain and flooding.

Extreme snowfall that could exceed 5 feet posed a threat in the higher Sierra regions. Forecasters at the Weather Prediction Center stated, "The heavy snow loads will increase the risk of avalanches and damage to infrastructure."

The winter storm severity index is at its highest level across the Sierra, recommending against travel and posing a risk of widespread road closures and infrastructure disruptions.

Compared to some of the storm systems that came before it, this one will be warmer. The snowfall will begin at 5,000 feet and increase to 6,500 to 8,000 feet over the course of the day. This means that areas with fresh snow will experience rain, allowing the snow to melt and increasing the amount of water entering rivers and creeks. According to the Sacramento National Weather Service office, flooding concerns were raised by the rising snow levels.

Tuesday should see the waning of this storm system. A new system, which is expected to be weaker than the previous one, will begin on Wednesday. However, any precipitation will fall on a region that is susceptible to further precipitation and may exacerbate swollen rivers and creeks.

There might be a brief respite before the weekend's forecast of another atmospheric river, which would bring more heavy rain and the possibility of flooding.

The wetter-than-usual pattern is expected to continue for the next few weeks, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service's San Francisco Bay Area office.

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