One killed and thousands under evacuation orders from ‘life-threatening’ California flooding

Residents in some communities were told to leave before rising water cut off their only possible escape routes

Graig Graziosi
Monday 02 January 2023 16:39 GMT
California Storms
California Storms (@Bay Area News Group 2022)

The storm that killed one person and left roadways across northern California flooded has moved further east, but that does not mean Californians are safe from the "incredibly dangerous" and “life-threatening” conditions left in its wake.

On Monday, residents in Sacramento County are still under evacuation orders after the historic flooding breached the city’s levees. Sacramento County officials warned residents that the situation was still "incredibly dangerous" with the potential for overfilled rivers to spill out onto nearby roadways.

The evacuation orders were issued late Sunday for individuals living in Point Pleasant, a low-lying community where dangerous flooding could occur. Residents of other nearby towns, including Glanville Tract and Franklin Pond were also told to prepare to flee before the roads were cut off by rising waters.

"It is expected that the flooding from the Cosumnes River and the Mokelumne River is moving southwest toward I-5 and could reach these areas in the middle of the night," the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services tweeted on Sunday afternoon. "Livestock in the affected areas should be moved to higher ground."

CBS News reports that dozens of people required rescue over the weekend when floodwaters caught them in their cars. At least one person was found dead in the town of Wilton after they attempted to drive through the high waters.

California Storms (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Winter Weather California (San Francisco Chronicle)
APTOPIX California Storms

Mudslides are still blocking motorways in some parts of the region and trees — brought down by 60mph winds — have disrupted power lines, leaving tens of thousands without power.

Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are also feeling the after effects of the storm. Fisherman’s Wharf logged its wettest day in 30 years, and a sinkhole opened up at the Oakland Zoo, shuttering it for what zoo officials believe will be at least two weeks.

A meteorologist in San Francisco, John Shrable, shared a video of an individual rafting through standing water in the city. The video included the caption "this is what 5.46 inches of rainfall in a day looks like in San Francisco."

He also warned readers that there was "still plenty of standing water" and to take precautions.

According to Newsweek, dozens of drivers in San Francisco were affected by the flooding and required fire department assistance. The SFFD confirmed to Newsweek that there were no casualties in the city stemming from the storm.

The "atmospheric river" that brought the storm upon the region also caused extreme weather further west in the state. Mountain roads weaving through the Sierra Nevada range were obstructed by heavy snow and driving conditions made difficult by showers and thunderstorms. More than four feet of snow fell in the mountains over the weekend.

Heavy snow also hit Lake Tahoe in eastern California, according to meteorologists. Regional forecasts predict snow to fall throughout the week.

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