An onslaught of heavy rains and gusty winds continues to affect Northern California early Sunday after causing the deaths of at least two people on Saturday. Flood warnings have been triggered as power outages and flooding forced road closures and flight delays across the Bay Area. It is expected the state will see a series of storms that bring even more torrential rains.
Reports indicate that at least 21,000 people across the Bay Are still had no power this morning, and parts of the California region had received two or more inches of rain from the first storm on Saturday night by 6 a.m. A reservoir in Santa Clara County is said to have spilled and creeks and rivers were poised to overflow before the record amounts of rainfall began to truly pound at the Northern California areas on Saturday night. ABC 7 News reported that both Marin County and Rohnert Park had major flooding, and drivers have been warned not to attempt to drive through standing water. Hinebaugh Creek began to overflow on Sunday morning, and a few drivers actually found themselves stuck while trying to navigate the waters.
⚠️ Move to higher ground! Flash Flood Warning including Santa Rosa CA and Rohnert Park CA until 1:45 PM PST pic.twitter.com/FaS6hDWwX0— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) January 8, 2017
On Saturday night, Jan Null, meteorologist and owner of Golden Gate Weather Services in Saratoga, gave a definitive warning.
“There are now 22 major spots in Northern and Central California that are expected to flood. It’s not maybe — they are forecast to reach flood level.”
The flooding from the storm has also frustrated Bay Area residents further as the closure of highway 101 occurred about 7:30 a.m. after several vehicles were trapped in the deep water. No indication of its reopening was made. The weather is also suspected to be the cause of a car flipping over a ramp on Highway 280 in Daly City. Members of the California Highway Patrol, along with firefighters and the owner of the car, eventually used their brute strength to flip the car right side up. Tow trucks in the area would have taken an hour to reach the location due to delays caused by the weather again. Fortunately, the driver and passengers from the car were uninjured, though the car sports serious damage to its side.
California areas not affected by the flood are facing difficulties still as traffic pile-ups are being caused by strong winds felling trees, as happened in Santa Clara on the expressway this morning. Winds were also blamed for the death of an elderly woman early Saturday. She was found trapped under a fallen tree near the Canyon Lakes Golf Course and transported to the hospital, where she succumbed to her life-threatening injuries and died later that day.
Mercury News wrote that the second death occurred when a motorist’s car spun out of control and crashed into a tree after he encountered slick roads. CHP spokesman Sean Wilkenfeld said it had been raining at the time. The man had to be cut from his vehicle, and although first responders attempted to carry out lifesaving measures, the man died. The identities of the victims were not immediately disclosed.
In expectation of the storms foreseen to hit the Bay Area, city and county officials had warned residents to prepare for both floods and power outages, and many cities offered sandbags for free. Residents have also been advised to not only stay away from downed power lines and swift waters but also not to try cross flooded areas. A flash flood advisory was also issued for much of the Bay Area last night.
Although rainfall totals were less than expected by mid-morning Sunday plenty of rains are still expected throughout the rest of the day.
The ongoing weather pattern is called an atmospheric river due to the unusual amount of water it carries. At least 10 inches of rain is expected to reach the Santa Cruz Mountains and North Bay hills leading up to Monday morning, and several feet of snow is forecasted for the high Sierra.
Unsafe conditions, especially high winds, caused the closing of several ski reports due to unsafe conditions.
[Featured Image by Jeff Chiu/AP Images]