California storm takes two lives, thousands remain powerless

A massive storm hit California on New Year’s Eve, causing heavy rain and snow and resulting in the deaths of two people.

The storm, caused by an influx of moisture from the Pacific Ocean, brought massive downpours and heavy snow since Saturday to California. As per reports, it has continued to bring rain and snow to the region.

The victims of the California storm are a 72-year-old man in Santa Cruz who was killed by a falling tree and a man who was found dead in a submerged vehicle by Cosumnes Fire Department crews. The latter man was found in the area of Dillard Road and Highway 99.

Sacramento Office said that following the floods in urban areas, mainstream rivers could be overflowed by Monday. Therefore, the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services (OES) asked Point Pleasant residents to leave their area on Sunday night.

“The Point Pleasant area’s evacuation warning has been escalated to an Evacuation Order. Flooding in the area is imminent. Floodwaters become incredibly dangerous after sunset (at 4:56pm today).”

Sacramento OES

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported the high elevation of California, which is an area that has experienced drought for several years, has received high rainfall in the past week.

The storm and flood have caused many people to encounter misfortune.

“There’s been dozens of people that have been rescued from vehicles,” said Chris Schamber of the Cosumnes Fire Department. “Dozens upon dozens of others have needed similar assistance”.

According to Schamber, the flooding is “unprecedented”. The Fire Department reported to have saved dozens of people trapped in the car and helped people whose homes or vehicles had been hit by fallen trees or whose cars had been damaged by flooding. The agency urged the public to stay in the house even though the rain had stopped.

Consequently, some roads were inaccessible, while Highway 99 sections were closed due to the flood. Large stones carried by floods through Highway 50 blocked the streets, making them impassable.

There were also widespread power outages as a result of flooding. According to data from Poweroutage.com, over 100,000 people lost power. In California, more than 81,000 people were affected, and in western Nevada, over 30,000 people were also left without electricity.

California storm updates

Northern California is bracing for the aftermath of the storm. In Sacramento, more than 6,000 people remain powerless as of Monday morning and multiple roads remain blocked.

“We have some flooding on Dillard Road by Jackson Highway, and we expect flooding by Highway 99,” Leland Schneider, a member of Cosumnes River Levee District, reported on Sunday in KCRA 3 news. “Keeping Wilton Road open is the lifeline of the community to get in and get out.”

To make sure the road stayed open, the Cosumnes River Levee District was working with the construction company, the Sacramento County D.O.T and Wilton Fire Department.

“We are clearing debris from hanging up on the bridge, we have rock trucks headed this way with a quarter ton of rip rap to build a little wing wall,” Schneider said.

According to the latest update from Caltrans District 3’s Twitter account, Highway 99 is already back open.

Meanwhile, CBS Sacramento updated the First Alert Weather for Northern California. Heavy rain with strong and damaging winds is expected on Wednesday across the Greater Sacramento Region.

Snow is also predicted to become heavy on Wednesday morning. With most rivers predicted to crest near or below flood stage starting Thursday, the rivers should be monitored closely, especially the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers.