California deluge forces mass evacuations Caltrans crews clear Highway 17 mudslide caused?

A neighborhood near Watsonville, California is experiencing flooding from heavy rains. January 9, 2023 Photo Credit: AP

California was hit by another severe storm, and a 5-year old boy was drowned in floodwaters. On January 9, a whole community on California’s central coast was evacuated. Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and other celebrities were also ordered to leave the area on the fifth anniversary the deadly mudslides.

Tens of thousands of people were without power and schools were closed. Streets and highways were transformed into torrential rivers, trees fell, mud slid, and motorists grumbled as they encountered roadblocks made by fallen debris. Officials from the state said that two people died from falling trees in the death toll of the constant storms, which increased to 14 after they hit roadsblocks.

Officials said that after a seven-hour search, the boy’s shoe was found. The water level was too high for divers and officials decided to end the search. Tony Cipolla, spokesperson for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, stated that the boy was not declared dead.

Caltrans crews clear Highway 17 mudslide caused by heavy rains from an atmospheric river storm, south of Glenwood Drive, Scott’s Valley, California. on January 9, 2023. Photo Credit: AP

According to Tom Swanson (assistant chief of Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo County Fire Department), the boy’s mother was driving a truck and it got stranded in floodwaters near Paso Robles just before 8 AM. This small city is inland from California’s central Coast.

The mother was pulled out of the truck by a few people, but the boy was swept downstream and likely into a river by Mr. Swanson. At the time, there was no evacuation order.

The entire Montecito community and the surrounding canyons, which were scarred by recent wildfires, was located 130 miles (208 km) south. An evacuation order was issued on the fifth anniversary for a mudslide in which 23 people died and more than 100 homes were destroyed.

Two cars were swept away by a sinkhole in Los Angeles’ Chatsworth on January 9, 2009. Authorities said that two people managed to escape on their own, while firefighters used ropes and an aerial ladder to rescue two other minor injuries.

According to the National Weather Service, rainfall rates averaged one inch (22.5 centimetres per hour). Heavy downpours are expected in Montecito’s upscale area. The roads wind through wooded hillsides dotted with large houses. Montecito, which is wedged between the Pacific and mountains, is home to many celebrities like Rob Lowe and Prince Harry as well as Meghan, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan.

Jeremy String walks through flood waters caused by heavy rains in his neighborhood near Watsonville, California. January 9, 2023 Photo Credit: AP

Ellen DeGeneres posted an Instagram video in which she stood in front of a raging stream near her Montecito home, where she lives alongside Portia de Rossi. In the caption, she said that they were instructed to shelter in place as they are high above the ground.

The talk show host in a raincoat and hoodie says, “This is crazy!” “This creek near our house never flows. It is probably nine feet high and will go two more feet.

Jamie McLeod said that her property was subject to the Montecito evacuation orders, but she stated that there is no way for Jamie McLeod to “get off of the mountain” with a running creek on one side and an avalanche on the other. According to the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary’s 60-year-old proprietor, one of her employees arrived for a weekly food delivery. She is also stuck.

McLeod stated that she is fortunate in that her home is on high ground, and the power still works. She said that she has grown tired of receiving evacuation orders for five years after the devastating wildfire and subsequent landslide.

“It’s not easy to move,” stated Ms. McLeod. “I love it completely, except for when it’s a catastrophe.”

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown stated that the decision to evacuate almost 10,000 people was based on “the continuing high rate of rain with no indication that this is going to change before midnight.” Many roads were also flooded and creeks were overflowing.

A neighborhood near Watsonville, California is experiencing flooding from heavy rains. on January 9, 2023. Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. 101 Northbound Lanes, a crucial coastal route, was expected to close until January 10. Other highways and roads in the area were also closed due to flooding and rockslides.

Santa Cruz County issued evacuation orders for 32,000 people who live near rivers and creeks that were flood-prone. Drone footage captured many homes in brown water and the tops of cars peeking out from the San Lorenzo River.

Maria Cucchiara lives in tiny, flood-prone Felton. She went on a walk to thank God for the “large branch” that had fallen onto her studio’s roof.

“I have two cats, and I could’ve been killed.” She said it was more than a ton. It was quite disturbing, I’m sure.

Nicole Martin, the owner of Fern River Resort in Felton described a more relaxed scene on Jan. She said that her clients enjoyed coffee among towering redwood trees while enjoying the show. Picnic tables and other debris floated down to the San Lorenzo.

In Santa Barbara, California, abandoned cars are left in a flood plain. on January 9, 2023. Photo Credit: Reuters

Martin stated that the river is normally about 60 feet (18 meters) below the cabins. However, it can sneak up to 12 feet (4 m) from the cabins.

According to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, many Northern California districts shut down schools. More than 35,000 Sacramento customers were without power for a total of 350,000 — down from 350,000 a day prior after wind gusts of 60 mph (97 km/h) blew majestic trees into power lines. One of the latest deaths was a homeless person who was struck by a tree.

The National Weather Service warned that there would be a “relentless parade atmospheric rivers”, which are long plumes of moisture that reach into the Pacific and can drop incredible amounts of rain or snow. After last week’s storms that battered the coast and knocked out power, flooding streets and caused massive amounts of rain, the National Weather Service is expecting precipitation over the next few days.

On Jan. 9, President Joe Biden issued an Emergency Declaration to support relief and storm response efforts in more than 12 counties.

The weather service issued an advisory for floods in large parts of Northern and Central California. It forecasts rain of 6 to 12 inches (15-30 centimeters) through Wednesday in the already saturated Sacramento foothills.

There was potential for up to 8 inches (20 cmimetres) rain in the Los Angeles area’s foothills late on Jan. 9-10. Also, high surf was expected.

California is still in severe to very high drought. However, the storms have filled depleted reservoirs.


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