California has been plagued by heavy rains, damaging winds, and a significant amount of mountain snowfall Wednesday through Thursday as a result of a potent atmospheric river storm associated with a bomb cyclone, the latest in a series of atmospheric river storms to hit the Golden State.
The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office tweeted late Wednesday warning that a heavy rain band with very strong winds is coming ashore, warning people to stay off the roads during the night due to the risk of flooding and hazardous driving conditions from very strong winds.
As heavy rainfall entered the Bay Area in the late afternoon, per the NWS, Marin County in Northern California was experiencing wind gusts of up to 85 mph. Due to flooding and mudslide concerns before the heaviest rains hit Wednesday afternoon, evacuations were ordered for parts of Santa Cruz County.
Prompted by the powerful storm heading toward California with large parts of the state expected to face flooding, power outages, and hazardous conditions, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency Wednesday.
As the storm pummeled California, an estimated 187,000-plus people were left without power by Wednesday night and the flooding forced the temporary closure of two major highways with at least one person being killed.
With dangerous conditions expected to persist for days, state authorities said the National Guard would be ready to respond if needed while they stockpiled emergency supplies and urged people to avoid non-essential travel.
As the intensifying bomb cyclone approaches the West Coast, the National Weather Service has hoisted flash flood watches, high wind warnings, winter storm warnings, and other alerts across most of the state.
Parts of San Francisco was also under a coastal flood advisory and the NWS also warned of impassable roadways in the mountains as snow falls at rapid rates, landslides, and widespread flooding in lower elevations with as much as 10 inches of rain and 4 feet of snow expected in some spots.
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