More than 9,000 California residents were under evacuation orders Friday as a new atmospheric river brought heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds, swelling rivers and creeks and flooding several major highways during the morning commute.
In Santa Cruz County, a creek bloated by rain destroyed a portion of Main Street in Soquel, a town of 10,000 people, isolating several neighborhoods. Crews were working to remove trees and other debris and find a way for people to cross the creek, county officials said.
County authorities asked the town’s residents to stay indoors. Heather Wingfield, a teacher who runs a small urban farm with her husband in Soquel, said she and her neighbors were, for the time being, trapped in their homes as Bates Creek rushed through what was once Main Street.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “Hopefully no one has a medical emergency.”
Wingfield said her neighbors’ water infrastructure was also washed out, but that her family’s well would keep them with running water. She said the floods so far weren’t impacting their farm, where families in the neighborhood pick pumpkins, squash and sunflowers every summer.
Wingfield said living near Soquel Creek has meant being aware there might be floods, but “never did I imagine it would wash out a culvert.”
Evacuations were ordered in nearby Watsonville where creek water spilled over and filled roadways with several feet of water, threatening dozens of homes with flooding. At one home, chickens inside a backyard coop perched on a bar near the roof to avoid the water.
In central California, the Tule River overflowed its banks and flooded several homes. Videos posted on social media showed a handful of homes and cars under a few feet of water and at least one road washed out in the town of Springville by the rushing river.
Several public parks, including the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, were closed to visitors due to the ongoing heavy rain.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, flooding blocked portions of several major highways, including Interstate 580 in Oakland, disrupting travel. And Peet’s Coffee, a California-based chain, reported that after a heavy storm, an investigation is underway to determine the cause of a roof collapse that killed a worker at a distribution center leased by the company in Oakland.
The storm marked the state’s 10th atmospheric river of the winter, storms that have brought enormous amounts of rain and snow to the state and helped lessen the drought conditions that had dragged on for three years. State reservoirs that had dipped to strikingly low levels are now well above the average for this time of year, prompting state officials to release water from dams to assist with flood control and make room for even more rain.
State transportation officials said Friday they removed so much snow from the roadways in February that it would be enough to fill the iconic Rose Bowl 100 times.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared emergencies in 34 counties in recent weeks, and the Biden administration approved a presidential disaster declaration for …read more
Source:: News Headlines