Thu, 5 January 2023 at 3:38 am GMT
Emergency crews braced for the latest bout of high winds and torrential rains sweeping California on Wednesday, renewing the threat of power outages and deadly flooding that gripped parts of San Francisco Bay and Sacramento over New Year’s weekend.
The “atmospheric river” – an airborne current of dense moisture flowing from the ocean – was expected to drench much of California ahead of a storm front bringing additional showers to low-lying areas and more snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains through Thursday.
The incoming blast of extreme winter weather – the next in a succession of storms expected to wash over California in the coming weeks – originated from a sprawling, hurricane-force low pressure system churning over the eastern Pacific, forecasters said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) predicted widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches, with up to 3 feet of fresh snow in Sierras.
Authorities warned the heavy downpours would likely unleash flash flooding and mudslides, especially in areas where the ground remains saturated from rains that soaked northern California days earlier. Fire-ravaged hill slopes are also particularly vulnerable to slides.
High-wind warnings were posted along the central California coast north through the Bay area and into extreme northern California and Oregon. The National Weather Service (NWS) said gale-force gusts were expected to uproot trees, shear off limbs and knock down power lines, disrupting electricity service in many areas.