California prepares to suffer “catastrophic floods” this weekend, forecasters warned, as an eighth consecutive storm was approaching with large amounts of water and snowin a region where the soils are already waterlogged.
The most populous state in the United States has been hit in recent weeks by downpours that killed at least 19 people and triggered flooding, power outages and landslides.
A new low pressure system hit the region on Friday, threatening to isolate the Monterey Peninsula and flood the city of Salinas, with 160,000 inhabitants.
“The entire lower Salinas Valley will suffer catastrophic flooding,” warned the United States Weather Service (NWS).
“The entire city of Salinas is in danger of flooding. Most of Castroville will be flooded. All roads near the Salinas River will be flooded and impassable. Many roads, homes, and agricultural areas in the Salinas Valley will suffer significant flood damage.”
It is anticipated that the Salinas River overflow its riverbed after weeks of torrential rainsin a flood that could last until Sunday. Evacuation orders have multipliedwhile the authorities of the Monterey County They warn that the residents of Salinas must prepare to “be incommunicado for two or three days” before the possible blockade of routes.
“This is a slow-onset event” and not all places will be affected at once, the company told reporters. Monterey County Sheriff Tina Nieto.
Succession of storms in California
The warnings come as this region in California tries to recover from previous repeated downpours. The short lulls between two storms barely give authorities time to clean up the damage before the next deluge.
“The unstable weather that currently reigns in the west of the country (…) will unfortunately continue this weekend, with two more rounds of heavy precipitation expected,” warned the NWS.
In the mountains, precipitation will turn into snowwith more than one meter expected in the Cordillera de Sierra Nevadamaking travel to the region dangerous or impossible.
How many deaths have left the floods in California?
Among the 19 victims in the state of California there are drivers who were found trapped in their submerged carspeople struck by fallen trees and a couple killed in a rockslide. Thousands of homes have been left without electricity. repeatedly.
For his part, he Northwest Avalanche Center He said he expects “dangerous and large-scale” avalanches from the weather event. These include the “wet snow avalanches”which occur when wetter snow accumulates on top of a blanket of light snow, making the whole package unstable.
Climate change causes severe flooding
California is used to extreme weather, and winter storms are common, but scientists say the climate changepowered by human burning of fossil fuels, is making these events more ferocious.
Although it is causing disasters in the short termrain is much needed in western USAwhere more than two decades of drought have imposed unprecedented restrictions on water use.
However, experts warn that even the monstrous downpours that have hit the region this month are not going to reverse more than 20 years of below-average rainfall. shasta lakethe largest reservoir in the state, was still at just two-thirds of its historical average in early January, according to data from the department of water resources.