California Declares Emergency as 'Truly Brutal' Storm Arrives

Governor already declares an emergency while forecasters warn of dangers
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2023 7:10 PM CST
'Truly Brutal' Storm System Arrives at California Coast
A pedestrian walks along Lake Avenue in Pasadena, California, on Wednesday as rain falls.   (David Crane/The Orange County Register via AP)

With an atmospheric river delivering a third major storm to California in less than two weeks, the National Weather Service is warning residents to prepare, and the governor already has declared a state of emergency. "We anticipate this may be the most challenging and impactful series of storms to touch down in California in the last five years,” said Nancy Ward, the state's director of emergency services. She said the state could see "widespread flooding, mudslides, and power outages in many communities," CNN reports, and forecasters said "loss of life" is likely. Gov. Gavin Newsom's issuance of the emergency declaration Wednesday will speed up the distribution of assistance, Ward said.

Forecasters say rainfall could total 2 to 4 inches on the coasts and in valleys, with as much as 10 inches falling in the mountains, per NPR. At high elevations, that would mean heavy snow. Northern California and the Bay Area are expected to bear the brunt of the storm—which became a bomb cyclone on Wednesday—including heavy rain and hurricane-force wind gusts. Northern California just endured heavy snow and flooding over the weekend, and water rescues had to be carried out in Southern California as well. Forecasters are warning residents in places where vegetation has been lost to recent fires especially, saying mudslides and mudslides are possible. (More California storms stories.)

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