With multiple powerful storms continuing to bear down on California, state officials have warned that rural areas are the most at risk of flooding because the levees that protect them aren’t built to the same standards as others that shield more populated cities.
These rural levees – many of which are owned and maintained by private land owners – mostly protect farmland from flooding and pose minimal risk to most homes. But failures can cause major thoroughfares to flood, as happened on New Year’s Eve when a major highway in Sacramento County flooded and one person was killed.
Thousands of residents were under evacuation and shelter-in-place orders early Tuesday after heavy rains unleashed mudslides in a mountain area east of Los Angeles that burned two years ago, sending boulders and other debris across roads.
Firefighters went street by street in the community of Forest Falls Monday night to make sure no residents were trapped. Eric Sherwin, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, said crews hadn’t found anyone who needed to be rescued and no one was reported missing. Crews would canvas the neighborhoods again and begin cleanup efforts after sunrise, he said.
(TNS) - One of the winter’s strongest storms brought flooding across Northern California’s wine country Wednesday, with no region hit harder than the town of Guerneville and the Russian River Valley, which has been inundated repeatedly over the decades.
Some 3,600 people in about two dozen communities near the river were evacuated Wednesday by the flooding, which prompted the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to declare a local emergency. Authorities warned that those who chose to stay in their homes could be stuck there for days.
(TNS) - Rain continued to soak Santa Barbara and Ventura counties Wednesday afternoon as residents of fire- and mudslide-battered communities endured the first day of Southern California's largest storm of the season.
The storm — a vast atmospheric river of tropical moisture known as a "pineapple express" — made landfall Tuesday night and is predicted to last through Thursday.
"It's going to be steady, light rain with periods of heavy rain," said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Heavier bouts of rain will occur Wednesday evening and the following day, he said.
Last week, Santa Barbara, California suffered 20 casualties, countless injuries and millions of dollars in property damage due to the unprecedented mudslides that tore through the city of Montecito. Search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of the phenomenon, which was caused by the heavy rains washing away ground laid bare by the Thomas Fire in December 2017. The resulting millions of pounds of debris left behind present biological and environmental risks to the area. Returning residents have been warned to protect against potentially hazardous chemicals and untreated sewage that were swept along with the mudslide debris. Meanwhile, where all this mud and debris will be moved to presents another dilemma.
REPORTING FROM MONTECITO, Calif. — In the mountains above coastal Santa Barbara County, the vegetation is typically so deep and lush that it can soak up a half-inch of rainwater before it flows downhill.
But that was before the Thomas fire swept through in December, burning those trees and brush to the ground. Now, the rain has no buffer, and that is cause for alarm.
"It hits the dirt directly and it is instant runoff and carries that sediment," Thomas D. Fayram, the deputy public works director for the county, told concerned residents at a community meeting several weeks ago.
Southern California is about to get its first significant rainstorm in nearly a year this week, with more than 4 inches of rain expected in burn areas.