Santa Cruz. Already drenched California, after a series of storms that have killed at least 19 people, is set for another Sunday night and Monday before drier weather sets in.
The westernmost state of the United States, and the most populous, is about to face its ninth spell of torrential rain in about three weeks.
To provide aid to California, United States President Joe Biden declared a severe state of emergency in the state where about 26 million people are under flood warnings.
On Saturday, the watersheds hit the Pacific coast, causing many rivers to overflow their banks and submerge urban areas, homes and land that has just been hit by an endless drought.
A ceasefire is expected for Sunday, before a new “atmospheric river” occurs; Officials speculated that a meteorological phenomenon that brought massive amounts of water from tropical regions.
“This is the eighth of nine atmospheric rivers that we are anticipating,” Governor Gavin Newsom warned Saturday. “It’s not over,” he said.
The United States Weather Service (NWS) said on Sunday that the new rain “could, in some places, cause flash flooding” in already waterlogged soils.
playing in the beach
In Santa Cruz, south of San Francisco, several areas remained under a flood advisory and the city’s beach was still littered Sunday with logs and trash carried by the St. Lawrence River over the past two weeks.
But gray skies and a storm didn’t stop Evan Short and three friends from playing a game of beach volleyball in the dirt.
“I noticed a small reduction in time and persuaded other desperate friends to join us,” the 29-year-old data analyst told AFP. “After all next week there should be a few days without rain,” he said.
The series of storms that have been going on since the end of December may end soon.
The NWS forecasts “a dry period of weather across California and the southwestern United States” over the weekend.
California could then repair the damage and bring power back to normal. Around 20,000 homes were without electricity on Sunday morning.
In San Francisco, the previous three months were the rainiest months since the winter of 1972–73. At the same time, California, whose agriculture feeds much of North America, is experiencing an unprecedentedly prolonged drought.
However, the torrential rains of the past few weeks will not change the trend. “They won’t be enough to fill Lake Mead, which supplies water to California and whose levels have been falling for years,” the NWS said, referring to the massive reservoir on the Colorado River.
But water control and retention systems — levees, artificial lakes, confined channels — were designed “40 or 50 years ago” for a world that no longer exists, Newsom said Saturday.