Wednesday, February 8, 2023

As California’s ‘bomb cyclone’ unleashes powerful winds and rain, evacuations have been ordered; a state of emergency has been declared


SAN FRANCISCO – California declared a state of emergency Wednesday as a powerful storm generated 45-foot waves out at sea, dropped soaking rain on already saturated ground, and prompted warnings of floods and mudslides.

The storm’s impacts will ramp up during the afternoon and the more than 8 million people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area should limit travel, the regional National Weather Service office warned. Earlier in the day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized state National Guard units to support disaster response as a massive storm pummeled much of the state’s coastline.

Fire and rescue equipment and personnel have been prepositioned in areas deemed most likely to experience severe flooding and mudflows.

GRAPHICS: ‘Rivers in the sky’: Graphics show atmospheric river soaking California’s Bay Area
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“If you’ve still got power, it’s a good idea to charge your cellphone, computers and tablets now while you can,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Cynthia Palmer in the agency’s San Francisco area office. If the power goes out, having access to timely information about the storm – and something to watch – will be useful, she said. 

The storm is termed a “bomb cyclone” because it is expected to be marked by a quick drop in atmospheric pressure resulting in a high-intensity storm.

“All told it’s about a 30-hour event from start to finish,” said Rick Canepa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Francisco office. “The rain won’t be done until Thursday afternoon or early evening.”

Severe weather could drop 10 or more inches of rain in some parts of Northern California over the next week, forecasters say. Wednesday’s storm was expected to knock down trees, cause widespread flooding, wash out roads, cause hillsides to collapse, slow airports, and potentially lead to the “loss of human life,” the National Weather Service said.

But officials warn even then the danger isn’t over. Forecasters are watching other systems out at sea that could also hit the region with more precipitation.

Meanwhile, California wasn’t the only place facing severe weather on Wednesday. A possible tornado touched down near Montgomery, Alabama, early Wednesday. There were no deaths but the twister damaged more than 50 homes.

Source: USA Today


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