More than 17.5 million people in central and northern California, including the San Francisco Bay area and the state capital Sacramento, were under flood warnings ahead of a storm that was expected to lash the region on Thursday with dangerous amounts of rain in most places where heavy snow was already present.
“A storm arriving on Thursday will bring a threat of flooding from a combination of heavy rain and snowmelt to lower elevations and foothills in California, especially below 5000 feet,” CNN quoted the Weather Prediction Center as saying in its latest forecast.
“And heavy, wet snow at higher elevations will lead to difficult travel and impacts from snow load. Creeks and streams in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada will be most vulnerable to flooding from rain and snowmelt,” the center added.
Monterey County officials have recommended residents and businesses, particularly in the Big Sur area, to stock up on supplies that will last at least two weeks.
The Big Sur area, about 150 miles south of San Francisco, is a well-known tourist destination in central California, featuring magnificent craggy cliffs, mountains, and hidden beaches along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Residents can also get sandbags from the county to safeguard their property.
Meanwhile, in Marin County, Fire Department Chief Jason Weber stated his employees will be prepared for rescues in the event of floods.
“Our reservoirs are all full from storms earlier this year. With reservoirs full, we expect our creeks will rise more rapidly with most of the rain becoming runoff,” Weber told CNN.
This week’s severe weather warning comes after most of California has been pummelling by numerous rounds of heavy snow, rendering roads unusable for days and knocking out electricity to thousands of households as temperatures plunged.
Past extreme weather killed one person in the San Bernardino Mountains.