California braces for ‘parade of cyclones’ after storms kill 12 people

SACRAMENTO: California braced for more severe weather on Sunday after a week of torrential downpours and devastating winds that killed at least 12 people in the past 10 days and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
National Weather Service forecasters warned that northern and central California were still on the path to a “relentless parade of cyclone“, promising little relief for the region until the middle of the week.
Two overlapping phenomena – a huge aerial flow of dense moisture from the ocean called an atmospheric river and a sprawling hurricane-force low-pressure system known as a bomb cyclone – have caused devastating floods and record snowfall over the past week.
The last storms vividly illustrated the consequences of the warming of the sea and the air caused by climate change.
“These storms are supercharged by climate change,” California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said at a press conference.
Despite the temporary deluge, the western United States remains in a two-decade drought. As climate change has brought extreme heat, droughts and floods, experts say the west would need consecutive exceptionally rainy years to replenish aquifers and reservoirs.
At least 12 people have died from weather-related incidents in California in the past 10 days, Governor Gavin Newsom said at a press conference. Among the victims was a toddler who was killed by a redwood tree that fell and crushed a mobile home in Northern California.
A woman living in a homeless encampment along the Sacramento River died Saturday night during a severe storm when a tree branch fell on her tent.
Joe Costa, the woman’s neighbor in the encampment, told Reuters on Sunday he found her barely breathing.
“I started screaming for 911…I opened her side of her tent and pulled her out, and she wasn’t responding,” Costa recalled.
First responders attempted to resuscitate the woman before taking her to hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to local reports.
Some 424,000 California homes and businesses were left without power Sunday afternoon, state officials said at a news conference.
Another severe storm was expected to hit Monday, and another atmospheric river, the sixth of the season, was expected later in the week, state officials said.
“We expect to see the worst ahead of us,” Newsom said.
Severe weather last week spawned violent gusts of wind that overturned trucks, flooded the streets of small towns along the northern California coast and caused a storm surge that destroyed a pier in Santa Cruz .
Heavy rain and snow have caused extensive flooding and ground saturation, meaning the next storm to pass through this week would pose a threat of additional flooding, the National Weather Service said.
Five feet (1.5 meters) of snow could fall on the Sierra Nevada mountains by Tuesday.
Newsom declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and said he had asked the White House to issue a federal emergency declaration ahead of the coming storms.

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