Severe storms in Northern California flood streets, topple trees, and leave 200,000 people without power

AP

"A second consecutive atmospheric river slammed Northern California on Sunday, leaving flooded roads and tens of thousands without electricity, and prompting an unusual hurricane-force wind warning as the state braced for what could be several days of heavy rain.

The storm flooded streets, brought down trees, and power lines in the San Francisco Bay Area, where winds reached speeds of 60 mph in some areas. In the mountains, gusts exceeding 80 mph were recorded.


Over 200,000 customers were left without power across the state, with most outages reported in the northern part of the state, according to poweroutage.us.

"We're not out of the danger yet; strong winds will continue into the afternoon today," the National Weather Service for the Bay Area reported.

Six counties in the Bay Area were at a low risk of waterspouts reaching land and becoming tornadoes, said the Storm Prediction Center. The last time the center forecasted a tornado risk in the region was in February 2015, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort located 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, said the heaviest snowfall of the season was expected, with accumulations of 6 inches per hour for a total of up to 24 inches. Heavy snowfall was likely in the Sierra Nevada on Monday.


Meanwhile, Southern California was at risk of significant flooding on Sunday night due to the slow movement of the system, said Ryan Kittell from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Weather System.

"The center of the low-pressure system is very deep, and it's moving very slowly, and it's very close to us. And that's why we have these very strong winds. And its slowness is what causes these high precipitation totals and the risk of flooding," he said in a briefing on Sunday.

Much of the state was just beginning to dry out after last week's system, which brought floods and snowfall in the mountains. The latest storm, also known as the 'Pineapple Express' because its moisture column extends across the Pacific to near Hawaii, hit Northern California on Saturday when most of the state was under some kind of wind, surf, or flood advisory.

The phone was constantly ringing at Santa Barbara's Home Improvement Center due to inquiries for sandbags, flashlights, and generators, said assistant manager Lupita Vital. Sandbags were sold out on Saturday, so customers bought potting soil bags and fertilizers instead, she said.


"People are trying to get anything that's heavy that they can use, you know, for protection for their doors and all that," Vital said on Sunday.

She said the store would likely close early so employees could get home before the heavier rains."