At least 3 killed amid record rain and heavy flooding in California

The National Weather Service says some areas of California could end up with 14 inches of rain.
Posted at 7:55 AM, Feb 05, 2024

Eight California counties are under a state of emergency as an atmospheric river has caused flooding throughout heavily populated areas of Southern California. The storm also brought heavy rain and damaging wind to the Bay Area.

Power was knocked out for more than 800,000 people statewide on Monday afternoon.

And the rain is still falling: Forecasters say as much as 8 inches of rain could fall across coastal areas of the state, while foothill and mountain regions could receive as much as 14 inches over the next two days.

At least three people have died during the severe weather, authorities said.

A man in Yuba City, north of Sacramento, was killed when a redwood tree fell on him, police said. They say he appeared to have been using a ladder in an attempt to keep the tree from falling on his home.

Another man, 41 years old, died of blunt force injuries near Sacramento after being caught under a falling tree in his yard.

And officials told Scripps News a 45-year-old man died in Boulder Creek, north of Santa Cruz, after a tree fell into his home. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency Sunday for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Numerous water rescues were reported as motorists were caught in their vehicles as roads flooded.

“California: This is a serious storm with dangerous and potentially life-threatening impacts. Please pay attention to any emergency orders or alerts from local officials," Newsom said. "California is ready with a record number of emergency assets on the ground to respond to the impacts of this storm.”

The National Weather Service defines an atmospheric river as "a long, narrow region in the atmosphere that transports water vapor, like a river, in the sky."

It had delivered 5.5 inches of rain in Los Angeles on Sunday into early Monday. The National Weather Service expected another 1-2 inches of rain to fall on the city on Monday. 

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In addition to heavy rain, some parts of California experienced damaging wind. Pablo Point, California, recorded a wind gust of 102 mph on Sunday. 

Further inland, winter storm warnings were issued as heavy snow is expected to inundate areas at or above 6,000 feet of elevation. The National Weather Service said 2-4 feet of snow is expected for areas at 7,000 to 9,000 feet of elevation. 

Calm weather is not expected to return to the region until the end of the week.