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USA. California storms are dying out. The state starts counting losses. Latest death toll

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California has already been hit by the latest of the violent storms that have hit the state for three weeks, the weather service said. Even over the weekend, heavy rain fell in many areas, and snowstorms raged in places, but from Monday the weather calms down. A series of storms, however, caused gigantic losses and contributed to the deaths – according to the latest data – at least 20 people. President Joe Biden, who has already promised help from the federal budget, is visiting the affected areas.

Violent storms in California is the result phenomenon known as the atmospheric river. Such rivers carry moist air from the warm ocean waters to land, where when they come into contact with colder air masses, they cause violent, heavy precipitation.

Three weeks, 300 alerts in California

The San Francisco branch of the National Weather Service (NWS) reported on Monday night to Tuesday that the latest in a series of storms that have hit the state for three weeks passed through California. The agency reported that the ongoing hydrological year (in the United States, counted from October 1, 2022) turned out to be the sixth wettest in the history of measurements for the city. So much rain has not fallen there in such a short time since 1972-1973.

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Between December 26, 2022 and January 16, 2023, the NWS issued nearly 300 flood and flood alerts in California, as well as multiple coastal hazard warnings, severe thunderstorms, and the possibility of tornadoes.

“The last of California’s torrential rains are slowly fading away,” NWS meteorologist David Roth said on Monday.

Although the danger is slowly easing, alerts remain in place in parts of the state where river levels have risen the most. Waterlogged soil is also unstable. The famous SR1 state road, which runs along the picturesque Californian coast, remains impassable in many sections due to the continuing landslides.

SR1 state road damaged by landslidesTwitter/Caltrans District 5

State of emergency

Nine storms that have hit California since December 26 have killed at least 20 people, according to the latest figures from Reuters, up from at least 19 deaths recently. Governor Gavin Newsom said tens of thousands of residents were still under evacuation orders as of Monday.

The storms brought with them heavy rain, high waves and landslides, and in the Sierra Nevada mountains also heavy snowstorms, severely reducing visibility. This can be seen in one of the recordings.

Snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of CaliforniaReuters

President Joe Biden will head to the California coast on Thursday to meet with emergency responders, visit affected cities and “assess what additional federal support is needed,” the White House said on Monday. The US president has already approved a state of emergency for California. This will make it possible to mobilize support for state and local government actions to deal with the effects of storms and floods. These funds are also to be used to pay subsidies to the residents of Merced, Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties affected by the natural disaster.

Governor Newsom had previously asked the president to make such a decision.

Flooded streets in Aptos Beach, CA – photo taken on January 14PAP/EPA/PETER DASILVA

Snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of CaliforniaReuters

You have to save water

Torrential rains have contributed to easing the effects of the historic drought that has plagued California for years. Almost the entire state is still in moderate to severe drought conditions, however, and water levels are still below average for this time of year. Moreover, the storms largely failed to reach the Colorado River Basin, a critical water source for southern California.

“Drought problems will continue because of the extremely dry conditions in this part of the world,” said Michael Anderson, a California state climatologist.

Damage in Los Angeles after the storm passedPAP/EPA/CAROLINE BREHMAN

Snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of CaliforniaReuters

>>>Read more: Atmospheric river – what is it. How often do atmospheric rivers form. How dangerous are they

Reuters, NWS Bay Area, Caltrans District 5, tvnmeteo.pl


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