Severe flooding prompts evacuations and rescues in California

Several evacuation orders are in place in California as the state deals with intense flooding and heavy rainfall.
Posted at 8:01 PM, Mar 11, 2023

Winter storm warnings, winter weather advisories, and flood watches have been issued across many parts of the U.S. this weekend, with California bearing the brunt of it.

A powerful storm brought heavy rains to the Golden State, killing at least two people in Northern California and causing power outages.

The California National Guard rescued dozens of people overnight.

"We've seen a lot of incidents where individual drivers believe that they can drive through these flooded roadways, and they get stuck and create secondary problems for a lot of our first responders," said California Highway Patrol Chief Charlie Sampson.

In Monterey County, thousands of California residents were under evacuation orders Friday and into Saturday after the Pajaro River’s levee was breached.

Snowpacked and icy road in Southern California

Snowstorm leaves Southern California mountain communities stranded

Crews are plowing roads 24 hours a day so people can access basic necessities.


"Today is a worst-case scenario for this community of Pajaro, a community that's heavily Latino, low-income families, farm workers. We work so hard to try to prioritize this community and avoid flooding," said Luis Alejo, Chair of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

Helicopter video showed damaged crops near McFarland, California, after severe rainfall in the region. 

An atmospheric river prompted President Joe Biden to issue an emergency declaration to release federal aid in the state.

It’s the state’s 10th atmospheric river of the winter, lessening drought conditions in the state.

"That allows FEMA to direct other federal agencies to provide lifesaving and emergency assistance as needed to respond to not only the current events happening right now, but the other atmospheric rivers as they come in the days to a week in front of us," said Bob Fenton, FEMA Region 9 administrator.

More than 10,000 California residents are under evacuation orders and warnings as of Saturday evening, and more rain is expected throughout the rest of the weekend.