CNN

More than 15 million people from California to Wisconsin are under winter weather warning Sunday as the Pacific storm system that brought record rainfall and severe flooding pushes east.

Some Northern California residents are still struggling with epic flooding and power outages after the storm system led to highway closures and water rescues on Saturday.

The city of Oakland had its wettest day on record on Saturday, with 4.75 inches of rain over a 24-hour period – breaking the previous record set on Jan. 4, 1982, the National Weather Service office in San Francisco said. Francis.

The severe weather was caused by a powerful atmospheric river – a long, narrow region in the atmosphere that can carry moisture thousands of miles, like a fire hose through the sky.

Now, as that same storm system heads east, it could dump a foot of snow in the Sierras and up to 2 feet of snow in parts of the Rockies by the end of Monday. Local forecasters warn that travel could be difficult.

Severe weather, which included high winds, left about 235,000 homes, businesses and other power customers without power in California and Nevada on Sunday, according to Poweroutage.US.

The storm also forced some Northern California residents from their homes on New Year’s Eve as streets began to flood and evacuation orders and warnings were issued.

In addition to urban flooding, several rivers began to overflow – including the Cosumnes and Mokelumne Rivers and the Mormon Slough, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

Despite flooding headaches, the moisture is actually a relief for drought-stricken California — which started 2022 with the driest start to the year on record and ended the year with soggy roads and thick mountain snow.

But it’s unclear how much of a dent the storm will make in California’s drought conditions.

Authorities ordered residents of Wilton — about 20 miles from Sacramento — to leave the area immediately at some point on Saturday, warning that rising waters could spill onto roads and cut off access to leave the area. About two hours later residents of Wilton were ordered to shelter in place after water made roads “impassable”.

Three communities near the town of Watsonville were also ordered to evacuate by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office due to creek flooding, while rising waters in the San Lorenzo River caused evacuations in the communities of Paradise Park and Felton.

In San Ramon, police used an armored rescue vehicle to evacuate residents from floodwaters.

“The impacts of flooding continue to intensify as this rain continues with too many road closures to count at this stage,” the NWS said on Saturday. The weather service told residents to stay put despite reports of landslides and landslides in the foothills and road closures through the Sierra passes.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews performed water rescues and responded to drivers whose vehicles broke down after driving through standing water on Saturday, officials said.

Calling it “Stormageddon,” the Amador County Sheriff’s Office shared an image of cars up to their doorknobs in floodwaters.

Highway 50 reopened just after midnight, hours after a section between Pollock Pines and Meyers closed due to flooding from the American River. Another section was closed above Echo Summit for avalanche control work.

Interstate 80 was also partially closed near the Nevada line on Saturday “due to multiple fallout at Donner Summit,” the California Department of Transportation said.

Late Sunday morning, I-80 in the Sierra-Nevada mountains had reopened to passenger vehicles only, “with R2 chain restrictions,” California Highway Patrol in Truckee tweeted. The restriction means that chains or traction devices are mandatory on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires on all four wheels.

“The roads are extremely slippery, so let’s all work together and SLOW DOWN so we can keep I-80 open,” the agency said.

US Highway 101 – one of California’s most famous roads – was also temporarily closed in both directions in south San Francisco.

In the Sacramento County area, residents were urged to avoid travel as wind gusts of up to 55 mph toppled trees and covered roads with debris, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

The county has declared a state of emergency, saying the atmospheric river has caused “significant transportation impacts, elevated stream and river levels, and flooding” in the Wilton area.

Downtown San Francisco received 5.46 inches on Saturday, making it the second wettest day on record for the region, according to the National Weather Service in the Bay Area.

These heavy rains are expected to slide south into Southern California on Sunday, accompanied by gusty winds of 30 to 50 mph.

While parts of Northern California are struggling with heavy rains, mountainous areas are blanketed in snow.

The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reported 7.5 inches of snowfall per hour between 4 and 5 p.m. Saturday in Soda Springs, about 30 miles from Lake Tahoe, and shared video of thick snow covering the area.

The lab said it had unofficial measurements of more than 30 inches of snow on Saturday.

More than a foot of new snow fell Saturday at Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge, the ski resort posted on Facebook, adding that work will be taking place across the mountain since all lifts were covered in ice and “the avalanche danger is extremely high”.

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