A second atmospheric river is on its way to California, as the state grapples with a dam breach, evacuations and other damage from this week’s winter storm.
The next atmospheric river – a long, narrow band of moisture pulled from the tropics – is expected for Monday, and it could be more powerful than the last one.
California was flooded by the latest front. In Oroville, north of Sacramento, a swift water rescue team helped two people stranded on an island in the Feather River to safety. In the Central Coast, the flooding of the river in Atascadero and Paso Robles was very feared.
Residents in parts of Monterey County woke up to emergency flood warnings and orders to evacuate after a levee was breached around midnight by rain-swollen waters of the Pajaro River, officials said counted
California National Guard troops and Monterey County sheriff and fire first responders helped residents in flooded neighborhoods evacuate to higher ground Saturday.
An area firefighter was injured by a falling tree, they said. Details were not provided on the person’s condition and where the injury occurred.
More than 90 rescues have been completed since Friday, with as many as 20 by boat, Monterey County officials said at an afternoon news conference.
The president of the Municipal Council Luis Alejo said that the adjacent river town of Pajaro, with a population of 1,700, was left in 1 to 3 feet of standing water and estimated that the recovery and repairing area homes could take months.
No deaths were reported.
Alejo said the dam was unlikely to be fully repaired before the next storm hits the area Monday night.
“We are very concerned about the second storm coming,” he said.
The county on Saturday issued an alert for customers of the Pajaro Sunny Mesa Water District warning them not to drink tap water or use it in food preparation because local wells were flooded during the storm
Another Monterey County community, Arroyo Seco, was placed under mandatory evacuation Saturday after a main road was washed out Friday by the storm, county officials said.
Nearly 18,000 utility customers in the county were without power Saturday, according to the grid’s tracking site. poweroutage.us.
Other parts of the state were affected by the extreme weather, including Santa Cruz County, where local government officials released video and photos of flood damage in the community of Soquel.
Further south, evacuation orders for parts of San Luis Obispo County were lifted Saturday, but some neighborhoods remained under evacuation notices.
The cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay have declared local emergencies in response to the extreme weather.
“City officials and staff are preparing for a series of two atmospheric river storms expected to bring several inches of rain each to San Luis Obispo,” the city said in a statement.
On Friday, officials in Kern County placed low-lying areas of the communities of Riverkern and Kernville under evacuation orders amid flood forecasts.
In Southern California, the Ventura County Fire Department said Saturday that a 30-by-300-foot sinkhole appeared between two homes in the town of Camarillo.
President Joe Biden on Thursday declared a federal emergency to help speed up disaster relief.
The weather service said in a forecast discussion that the Bay Area and Central Coast were on track for the next front, which it described as likely to be more intense and more rainfall-laden.
“This event will be more widespread,” said meteorologist Kristan Lund of the Oxnard office of the National Weather Service.
A scale for atmospheric riversdeveloped by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, measured the weekend’s storm at its weakest level, AR 1. Monday’s storm is expected to reach an intensity and duration of AR 3, said that represents a storm both “beneficial and dangerous”.
Atmospheric rivers have helped Los Angeles record nearly 21 inches of rain since the season began on Oct. 1, surpassing the annual average of 14.77 inches. It is not yet clear whether Los Angeles and points south will be significantly affected by the next atmospheric river.