Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Storms in California force tens of thousands to flee; 17 people die

Tens of thousands evacuate California storms, with 17 dead


MONTECITO: As the state of California was ravaged by the latest in a series of storms that have claimed the lives of at least 17 people, evacuation orders were issued to tens of thousands of people on Tuesday.

Flash flooding was caused by torrential downpours, which closed important highways, toppled trees, swept away drivers and passengers, including a five-year-old boy who is still missing in central California. More rain and snow are expected to hit the nation's most populous state.

According to the monitoring website, approximately 110,000 homes and businesses in California were without power on Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service, a new storm is expected to pound the state on Wednesday, bringing as much as seven inches (18 centimeters) of new rain to northern California and several more feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The strongest storm system since 2005 was described by the National Weather Service (NWS) as an "endless onslaught of atmospheric river events."

According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, at least 34,000 individuals had been advised to flee the storm, and additional danger was anticipated.

"The fact of the matter is that we are not safe; He stated to reporters, "We anticipate these storms to continue at least through the 18th of this month."

"We now have 17 confirmed -- and I emphasize "confirmed" tragically -- deaths that have just been confirmed."

The rain that fell on Montecito, where Prince Harry of the United Kingdom and his wife Meghan Markle live, posed a threat of dangerous mudslides on hills that had been wet for weeks and prompted an evacuation order.

According to resident Daniel DeMuyer, who spoke with AFP, "Because the mountains are right there, it comes down at a really high rate when it really rains... it's pretty dangerous pretty quickly."

"That's the cost of living in such a beautiful location; when it rains like this, a lot of damage is caused,"

Because it is at the foot of a mountain range that was destroyed by fire five years ago, Montecito, whose multi-million dollar properties are surrounded by breathtaking California countryside, is particularly susceptible to mudslides.

The fire scorched hundreds of square miles (kilometers), removing the vegetation that normally holds the soil in place from the hillsides.

However, on Tuesday, the town, where stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katy Perry, and Rob Lowe reside, saw its evacuation order lifted.

Statewide, there were tragedies.

According to Fox News, citing a county official, authorities in San Luis Obispo County called off a search for a five-year-old boy because the raging waters were too dangerous for divers.

The child, who escaped with his mother from their submerged car during the flood, is still alive. The mother's life was saved.

A tree fell onto a road north of Bakersfield, resulting in the deaths of two motorists.

There was a lot of destruction, and in some places, whole communities were flooded.

Dominick King claimed that his Capitola restaurant had been destroyed.

He told AFP, "It's a lot worse than expected."

"All of my back windows have been completely destroyed." Since our floors had warped and all of my tables were strewn around them, I assume the waves came from beneath the building.

"The block as a whole has been destroyed, not just me."

Forecasters predicted that the misery would continue throughout swaths of the Golden State that were under flood warnings.

"Before the next atmospheric river arrives on Wednesday, there will be a brief break in the precipitation in the West late tonight. The NWS stated, "A large cyclone in the eastern Pacific Ocean will produce heavy precipitation in northern California as moisture will stream ahead of it."

Although California experiences a lot of precipitation in the winter, these downpours are putting the state to the test.

They occur at a time when a severe drought that has ravaged much of the western United States for more than two decades has significantly increased the frequency and severity of wildfires.

These extreme weather swings, according to scientists, have been exacerbated by human-caused climate change brought about by the unchecked burning of fossil fuels.

However, even the most recent rains are insufficient to completely end the drought.

It will take several years of above-average precipitation, according to scientists, to restore healthy reservoir levels.

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