California is facing yet another atmospheric river that will pummel parts of the state with heavy rain and snowfall tonight through Wednesday, as officials and emergency workers are still responding to the fallout from the most recent storm.
The storm conditions are supposed to intensify Monday night and into early Wednesday. This will bring rain to lower elevations and heavy snowfall on Central and Northern California mountains, according to a National Weather Service alert.
“Expect Power Outages! Make a Plan!” the Bay Area National Weather Service station tweeted. As of this writing, there are more than 13,000 outages throughout the state, according to Poweroutage.us. This number may rise as the storm reaches California this evening. Just this past Saturday, more than 41,000 customers across the state were without power, with about 30,000 of those outages in Monterey County, CNN reported.
Officials across the state are working to keep residents safe and prepared. California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has begun organizing flooding resources for communities in Central California, according to a press release. Valley Water is offering free sandbags to Santa Clara County residents at several distribution centers. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services also recently posted a list of shelters in counties affected by recent winter storms.
An earlier atmospheric river hit the state last week, bringing torrential rain that caused deadly mudslides and flooding in Central California. Thousands of people were under evacuation orders, the LA Times reported. The heavy precipitation also swelled the Pajaro River in Monterey County. The river breached the levees, worsening flooding in the area, NPR reported. A video uploaded to Twitter showed how the California National Guard had to help first responders rescue people from their vehicles last week:
The back-to-back emergencies prompted California Governor Gavin Newsom to request a Presidential Emergency Declaration last Thursday. President Biden approved the request for assistance the next day.
Governor Newsom also declared a state of emergency at the beginning of this month, as counties struggled to dig themselves out from heavy snowfall. Residents across San Bernardino were trapped in their homes, while others were stranded and unable to reach their homes due to the extreme conditions.
Though one storm can’t be directly attributed to climate change, research suggests that these atmospheric rivers may be becoming more intense due to rising emissions. Winter storms are supposed to happen—but the frequency and intensity could be affected by climate change.