California was bracing on Sunday for more severe weather after a week of torrential downpours and damaging winds killed at least seven people and left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.
According to USN, Forecasters warned on Sunday that northern and central California was still in the path of a “relentless parade of cyclones,” promising little relief for the region until the middle of the week.
Two overlapping phenomena – an immense airborne stream of dense moisture from the ocean called an atmospheric river and a sprawling, hurricane-force low-pressure system known as a bomb cyclone – have caused devastating flooding and record snowfall over the past week. The latest storms vividly illustrated the consequences of warmer sea and air temperatures caused by climate change.
At least seven people have died from weather-related incidents in California since the New Year’s weekend, including a toddler who was killed by a redwood tree that fell and crushed a mobile home in northern California.
A woman living in a homeless encampment along the Sacramento River died Saturday night during a raging storm when a tree branch fell on her tent.
Joe Costa, the woman’s neighbor in the encampment, told Reuters on Sunday that he had found her barely breathing. “I started yelling for 911 … I opened her side of her tent and pulled her out, and she was unresponsive,’ Costa recalled.
First responders performed life-saving measures on the woman before taking her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to local news reports.
Some 400,000 homes were still without power in California as of Sunday morning, according to data from PowerOutage.us. Another severe storm was supposed to hit on Monday.
“The West Coast remains under the target of a relentless parade of cyclones that form and intensify over the Pacific Ocean,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a forecast on Sunday.
Sacramento County spokesperson Samantha Mott said Sunday that authorities were “still collecting a damage assessment” and that she expected more power outages during the coming storms that may be “as severe, if not worse” than the one that killed at least two people this weekend.
Mott told The Washington Post that she could not answer questions about how many people had died, but at least one person was killed and one was seriously injured by falling trees Saturday night, according to Capt. Keith Wade of the Sacramento Fire Department.
The woman who died had been staying in a tent just off where a levee system meets the American River. Members of the large unhoused community that camp along the levee system moved the tree off her tent before firefighters arrived, Wade said. She was declared dead at a hospital.
Wade said a fallen tree also landed on a car, seriously injuring a passenger. “I’ve never seen in 22 years here this amount of tree debris,” he said. The combination of roots made shallow by years of drought and soil saturated by recent heavy rain makes it easier for trees to topple, Wade said.
His department has not been able to keep up with demand, and things will get worse before they improve. Wade said the department’s 16-member swift-water rescue team is preparing for wind gusts up to 40 mph and 2 to 3 more inches of rain into mid-Monday.
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