California Storms Inflict More Damage

Thousands lose power ahead of another wave of rain, snow, high winds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2023 4:40 PM CST
High Winds Inflict Damage in California
A tree collapsed and ripped up the sidewalk damaging a home in Sacramento, Calif., on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Kathleen Ronayne)

California endured more turbulent weather Sunday as thunderstorms, snow, and damaging winds swept into the northern part of the state, preceding another series of incoming storms and raising the potential for road flooding, rising rivers, and mudslides on soils already saturated after days of rain. The National Weather Service warned of a "relentless parade of atmospheric rivers"—storms that are long plumes of moisture stretching out into the Pacific capable of dropping staggering amounts of rain and snow, the AP reports. In the state capital, more than 230,000 customers were without electricity Sunday in the city of about 525,000 residents after gusts topping 60mph knocked trees into power lines, according to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Joey Kleemann was listening to the winds howling shortly after midnight, wondering whether she should move her car, when she heard a "gigantic, thumping, crashing sound" as a large tree fell onto the Sacramento home where she's lived for 25 years. The gusts were strong enough to rip the tree up from its roots, pulling the concrete sidewalk up with it. Cracks in the roof meant rain streamed into her dining area throughout the night. She's hoping to get a tarp over the damaged area in anticipation of more showers. "I just had a feeling with the winds. They were scary winds," she said.

The weather service's Sacramento office said the region should brace for an even more powerful storm system to move in late Sunday and early Monday. "Widespread power outages, downed trees and difficult driving conditions will be possible," the office said on Twitter. Evacuation warnings were in place for about 13,000 residents of a flood-prone area of Sonoma County north of San Francisco, where the swollen Russian River was expected to overspill its banks in the coming days. The state Department of Transportation warned motorists to stay off mountain roads after closing a stretch of US 395 in Mono County due to heavy snow, ice, and whiteout conditions along the Eastern Sierra. In the Los Angeles area, scattered rain fell during the weekend while stormy conditions were expected to return Monday, with the potential for up to 8 inches of rain in foothill areas.

(More California storms stories.)

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