A cyclonic pump hit wednesday Californiawith strong winds and torrential rains expected to result floods in areas already saturated by previous storms.
Authorities issued life-threatening warnings and ownership in a large part of this east coast state of the United States, the most populous in the country, especially around the cities San Francisco and Sacramento.
Meteorologists warned that gusts of up to 70 kilometers per hour and heavy rain could hit the region on Wednesday, while rainfall will continue into Thursday.
The National Weather Service (NWS) noted that there may be “widespread flooding, streets swept away, collapsed slopes, fallen trees, widespread power outages, immediate disruption of trade and, worst of all, probable loss of life.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state of emergency “to support response and recovery efforts”, while San Francisco established a contingency operations center.
Firefighters have warned the population to avoid an area where the glasses broke of an apartment complex due to strong winds.
Meanwhile, thousands of sandbags have been distributed to residents fearing flooding.
“We are very worried”, Deepak Srivastava told CBS San Francisco.
“I spent the entire day sandbagging in front of the garage and at every entry point and fingers crossed that there is no more damage,” he added.
City officials said they were working around the clock to try to help people prepare.
“We have worked very hard to get sandbags wherever possible in Northern California,” said Rachel Gordon of the San Francisco Department of Public Works, who warned residents should take the storm very seriously.
Why does heavy rain occur?
Heavy rains are caused by a combination of a cyclonic pump -sudden drop in blood pressure- ea atmospheric river -long narrow wet corridor that carries moisture from the ocean-.
Up to 100 millimeters of rain is expected in the San Francisco Bay area, and double that in the nearby hills.
It is expected that in Sierra Nevada they will register 1.2 meters of snow.
Downpours add to a number of storms which has caused heavy rains in recent weeks.
On New Year’s Eve, areas of Northern California were hit by a storm that caused landslides and power outages, as well as breaking levees and flooded roads.
At least one person has died after being trapped in a submerged car.
San Francisco recorded nearly 5.5 inches of rain on Dec. 31, the second-highest volume on record in the city.
The backwater caused by those storms exacerbates the danger of that, al said AFP extension meteorologist Matt Solum.
“This storm alone, with no previous storms, would cause localized flooding and rock and mudslides.”She said.
“But with the recent wet conditions, much of the rain that has already fallen has saturated the groundso any other rain will run off instead of seeping into the ground.”
The western United States suffers from a decades-long drought, with below-average rainfall leaving river and reservoir levels worryingly low.
While meteorologists consider any rainfall to be beneficial, sudden downpours caused by severe thunderstorms can do more harm than good, as the ground is unable to absorb large volumes of water very quickly.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.