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California emerges from ‘parade of storms’


Snow piled up at the foot over the weekend on peaks and passes across California, closing roads for avalanche control work, slowing traffic and forcing at least one ski resort, Sierra in Tahoe, to cancel its Monday operations despite “legendary” driving conditions.

California’s snowpack is set for a remarkable season after nearly three weeks of riverine atmospheric storms that hit California with heavy rainfall. Each region of the Sierra Nevada has over 200% of its typical snowpack for that time of year.

“Epic levels,” state climatologist Michael Anderson said at a Monday news conference. “We are ahead of the record pack of 82 and 83.”

The Sierra Highway was open, but chain checks remained in effect, as crews cleaned up in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., on January 1.Caltrans District 3 via AP File

That means the state’s snowpack, which typically accounts for about 30 percent of its water supply, is the highest on this date since records began in 1950.

California’s copious snowpack should help alleviate some of the state’s drought worries this summer, but it also raises the possibility of spring flooding as all the stored moisture melts away.

“It sets the stage for potentially dealing with flooding issues as we go through the snowmelt season, something to keep in mind,” Anderson said. The likelihood of spring flooding will depend on how much snow accumulates later this winter.

California emerges from 'parade of storms'

The current barrage of storms is expected to end this week. California has experienced nine riverine atmospheric storms since Christmas, Anderson said. A 10th is expected on Wednesday, but it’s much weaker and won’t produce as much hard-hitting precipitation.

“We’re finally crossing the Storm Parade,” Anderson said. “We’re starting to see the rivers crossing the final ridges and starting to recede.”

Impacts from the storm were felt across the state on Monday. Rescuers were able to rescue a person trapped by floodwaters at Otay Lakes near San Diego on San Diego County Fire Protection District said. Meanwhile, a landslide closed part of State Route 13 in the Oakland area, the state Department of Transportation said.

Residents work to push back wet mud that has trapped cars and invaded some homes on January 11, 2023 in the small unincorporated town of Piru, east of Fillmore, California.  A series of powerful storms continues to batter California in stark contrast to the past three years of severe to extreme drought experienced by most of the state.  The storms are damaging but bring heavy rainfall which, while not expected to end the drought, helps fill reservoirs that have shrunk to historically low levels due to the drought.
A resident struggles to push away wet mud that trapped cars and smothered some homes in Piru, east of Fillmore, Calif., on Wednesday.David McNew/Getty Images

Anderson said forecasts call for dry weather in California over the next two weeks, giving the state a chance to dry out after heavy rainfall continued to crumble infrastructure and force rescues over the weekend. end.

Video shared in Pescadero on Saturday showed a rain-soaked hillside collapse, causing part of its asphalt pavement to slide down a ravine.

Several areas of Coastal Route 1 have been unstable or buried by landslidestweeted the Department of Transportation.

Orange County Lifeguards pulled a man out of a storm channel on Saturday eveningone of several storm-related rescues reported in the state.

California emerges from 'parade of storms'

Weeks of seemingly incessant rain and snow have wreaked havoc on the state.

The California Geological Survey counted at least 402 landslides since December 30, and at least 19 people were killed due to inclement weather. Officials are just beginning to assess cleanup timelines.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office reported debris had accumulated about 40 feet high on a canyon road. He expected clearing the road could take up to three weeks and up to six months for repairs.

President Joe Biden said Saturday that a major disaster has struck California, making federal disaster funding available to residents of hard-hit Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties.

Biden previously made an emergency declaration for the state, approving federal emergency relief in 17 counties.



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