California Braces For Potentially Devastating Floods

February 21, 2017

After years of too little rain, California has a decidedly different problem on its hands: way, way too much of it. But the scare at the Oroville dam earlier this month, and the massive floods in Los Angeles last week, pale in comparison to what the latest volley of moisture threatens to serve up.

Today and tomorrow, California is experiencing the wettest storm of the rainy season so far—an “atmospheric river” that’s expected to dump two to three inches of rain throughout the Central Valley and nearly a foot in the mountains, according to the New York Times. Unfortunately, many of the rivers being inundated right now are already at or near the flood stage thanks to heavy rainfall earlier in month. Saturated soils will exacerbate the risk of flooding and could trigger mudslides. Fierce winds will increase the likelihood of downed trees and “long lasting power outages,” the National Weather Service warns.

Flash flood warnings are in effect throughout the Bay Area and the Central Valley. The NWS in San Francisco is warning residents in flood-prone areas to “move to higher ground immediately,” while NWS Sacramento notes that California “may see flooding in locations that haven’t been impacted in years.” Residents are advised to have an evacuation plan in place, and be ready to leave their homes on a moment’s notice.

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