California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday ahead of yet another severe weather system expected to slam the state.
Severe weather battered California since last week when an “atmospheric river” brought high winds and heavy rains to the northern part of the state. Another storm battered other parts of the state days later, bringing dangerous and even deadly flooding. The storms are expected to continue for some time.
“California is mobilizing to keep people safe from the impacts of the incoming storm,” Newsom said in a statement. “This state of emergency will allow the state to respond quickly as the storm develops and support local officials in their ongoing response.”
According to National Weather Service maps, most of northern and central California are under weather alerts. The northern coastal region of the state, from Monterey County all the way north to Shasta County near the border with Oregon, is under high wind warnings. The northeastern part of the state, especially around the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is under a winter storm warning. Scattered parts of northern California are under flash flood warnings.
Both high wind and winter storm warnings extend into the edges of the San Joaquin Valley in the central part of the state, according to the NWS station in Hancock. Most of the valley is under a wind advisory. A thin stretch of the region from Mariposa County to Kern County is under a flash flood warning.
In Southern California, the storm is expected to bring coastal flooding and high waves. The coastal regions of Los Angeles County are under a high surf advisory, while coastal Orange County is under a coastal flooding advisory. Coastal San Diego County is under a high surf warning, the NWS station in San Diego forecasts.
State officials have warned that this storm could compound the damage already done by the previous storms; the ground is still saturated with moisture, which increases the likelihood of flooding, rapid runoff, and mudslides, The New York Times reported. The high winds would also be likely to knock down trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages, the NWS added via The Washington Post.
The latest storm is the product of a “bomb cyclone,” a period of rapid intensification caused by a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, followed by a rush of high winds caused by the resulting vacuum. A similar weather event caused the severe blizzard which bombarded 37 of the 50 United States over the Christmas weekend. California avoided the first “bomb cyclone,” but has been hammered by storms ever since. The latest storm is also expected to be just one in a blitz of several storms over the next few days.
“This is storm one of at least three or four,” NWS Monterey meteorologist Brayden Murdock told Politico. “The forecast looks quite unsettled through the week and into the weekend, even next week.”