- An atmospheric river dumped record rainfall in northern California on New Year’s Eve.
- Photos show flooding, landslides, boat and helicopter rescues, broken levees and a sinkhole.
- Another atmospheric river is approaching, possibly bringing more severe flooding on Wednesday and Thursday.
Northern California was inundated with floodwaters when an atmospheric river dumped record rains in the region on New Year’s Eve.
Californians have only a few days respite before another atmospheric river – a channel of water vapor that can carry as much water as a river – is expected to flood the region on Wednesday and Thursday. It will be “similar in strength to or stronger than the New Year’s storm,” according to the National Weather Service.
Since the ground is already saturated from the recent storm, it may not be able to absorb as much water when the new atmospheric river rains. It could mean even worse flooding.
The recent storm left people stranded, vehicles submerged and abandoned, highways closed, and triggered landslides and landslides. At least two people died in the floods. Rescue efforts are ongoing and flood waters continue to rise in some areas.
Oakland had its wettest day on record on Saturday, and San Francisco was just short of its record. Footage from John Shrable, a meteorologist with local news station KRON4, shows extensive flooding in the city:
The Oakland Zoo closed on Sunday, after a culvert overwhelmed by rainfall collapsed underground and opened a sinkhole.
Floodwaters continued to cause problems after the rains stopped, stranding people and crippling businesses.
Atmospheric rivers can dump more and more rain as global temperatures rise, because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. This increases the risk of severe flooding like this (or worse) in the future, scientists have warned.
Levee breaches, boat and helicopter rescues and two deaths in Sacramento County
Floodwaters broke through levees in the Sacramento Valley on Sunday, prompting evacuation orders — followed by shelter-in-place orders — and flooding Highway 99, the main thoroughfare through the Central Valley.
Rescue efforts across the region are ongoing. One person was found dead in a submerged vehicle on Sunday morning, FOX40 News reported. Another person died after being pulled from the waters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In Elk Grove, firefighters used a boat to rescue people from a temporary island created by flooding, sharing the photo below on Saturday.
Elsewhere, a person was rescued by helicopter after floodwaters pinned him against a tree.
San Francisco is flooded and Tahoe is snowy
The Instagram page of Rintaro, a restaurant in San Francisco, shared a video of its facility submerged in standing water.
A post shared by Sylvan Mishima Brackett (@mr_rintaro)
A San Francisco resident shared footage of a powerful landslide on Twitter, saying it passed through the Bernal Heights neighborhood on Saturday.
Other images show muddy floodwaters rolling down a residential street.
In Tahoe, the atmospheric river dumped snow on the roads, which left some drivers stranded and prompted authorities to close major roads.
Nearby, huge boulders rolled down Highway 50 during the storm. The California Department of Transportation said it would need to detonate them.
. photos floods California show damage rescues other rains coming