California under threat: new winter storm could cause flooding


The most recent storm in a series of winter rains arrived this Sunday in northern California, prompting alerts for possible flooding, hail, strong winds, and even brief tornadoes as the system moves south in the coming days.

Wind gusts exceeded 48 kilometers per hour in Oakland and San Jose, while a slight cold front on Saturday gave way to a more potent storm that will gain strength early Monday, said meteorologist Brayden Murdock, from the National Weather Service office in San Francisco.

"The winds are already here and they are strengthening, and the rains will quickly follow," he said this afternoon.

The central coast of California is at risk of significant flooding, with up to 12 centimeters of rain forecast for many areas, according to the weather service.

Isolated precipitation of up to 25 cm may be recorded in the Santa Lucia and Santa Ynez ranges as the storm advances towards Los Angeles.

Thunderstorms in the valleys surrounding the state capital could bring "brief tornadoes, large amounts of small hail, heavy rain, lightning, and wind gusts" on Monday, warned the weather service office in Sacramento through X, formerly Twitter.

The most recent storm is expected to advance faster than the devastating atmospheric river that manifested in southern California earlier this month and turned roads into rivers, caused hundreds of landslides, and killed at least nine people.

"It's not the ideal setup for an atmospheric river, but it has some of the characteristics," including a strip of subtropical humidity, said Murdock. "Other than that, it's just a cold front."