Severe California storm kills at least two 


Another powerful storm pummelled California overnight into Saturday, forcing thousands to evacuate and resulting in at least two deaths. (Photo: AFP)

Another severe storm pounded California overnight into Saturday, forcing hundreds to evacuate, causing at least two deaths, and causing a levee in Monterey County to collapse.

"We had hoped to avoid and mitigate this crisis, but the worst-case scenario has occurred with the Pajaro River overflowing and the levee breaching around midnight," a Monterey County supervisor tweeted on Saturday.

Residents said to AFP they were notified to leave in the middle of the night by local fire officials.

Moses, a 20-year-old resident who wished to be identified only by his first name, stated that the fire department's sirens and other sounds roused him and his family.

He reported that officials later knocked on his door many times, but he waited until 5:00 a.m. to decide.

After returning home from an inspection of the floods, Moses reported that his street was beginning to be submerged.

"At that point, I told my wife, 'Hey, we need to get out of here!'" he explained.

According to the National Weather Service, the area remained under a flood warning on Saturday afternoon.

Friday night, state director of emergency services Nancy Ward reported that the storm had already taken the lives of at least two people.

Photos sent to Twitter by the state's National Guard account depicted guardsmen rescuing residents whose vehicles were submerged in floodwaters.

Just north of Monterey, at least one road was swept away in Santa Cruz County.

Several communities, primarily in the north, have been forced to evacuate their inhabitants.

A seemingly continuous sequence of storms has pummeled California for several weeks.

The most recent storm was anticipated to deliver up to 23 centimetres of rain on wet terrain.

'Pineapple express'

This current storm, part of a mighty atmospheric river known as a "Pineapple Express" for the warm, subtropical moisture it carries from Hawaii, will hasten the melting of the massive snowpack accumulated at higher elevations.

The resultant runoff has the potential to exacerbate already severe flooding.

AFP reporters observed the fire department and national guard using drones to explore the flooded areas in Pajaro on Saturday, searching for stranded residents.

Two cousins, Angel Martinez and Christian Garcia waded into the water while holding a kitchen-salvaged plastic bag of food.

They told AFP that their neighbourhood was a "disaster," with one meter of water in their backyards.

They could only collect phone chargers, a few blankets, and a first aid box when they escaped quickly.

Friday, US President Joseph Biden signed an emergency designation that expedites government assistance to the western state.

California's governor, Gavin Newsom, stated that the state was "deploying every available resource to safeguard communities from the relentless and lethal storms ravaging the state."

January storms were responsible for the loss of twenty lives.

Publish : 2023-03-12 11:07:00

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