Nearly 500,000 California residents have reportedly lost power after forecasters warned of “one of the most dramatic weather days in recent memory”. An area from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles is witnessing heavy rain and high winds. This is the result of an “atmospheric river” effect, caused by airborne currents of dense moisture.About 37 million residents are now under flood alerts, which is 94% of the population. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in eight central and southern counties on Sunday, February 3. Thecounties include Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura – all of them located in central and Southern California.
“California: this is a serious storm with dangerous and potentially life-threatening impacts. Please pay attention to any emergency orders or alerts from local officials,” Newsom said. “California is ready with a record number of emergency assets on the ground to respond to the impacts of this storm.”
Atmospheric rivers are a phenomenon that causes water to evaporate into the air. It is then carried along by the wind, eventually forming currents that flow in the sky.Santa Barbara is seeing “extremely high winds,” as well as some amount of flooding. Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale told CNN that some trees have fallen, including a huge eucalyptus tree that took down power lines and damaged a condominium complex.A flash flood warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. This covers over one million people in communities northwest of Los Angeles, including Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.Several universities in California moved to online classes. Flash flood warnings were issued for downtown Los Angeles, including the arena where the Grammy Awards are being held. The areas include Downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Inglewood, Manhattan Beach.
Meanwhile, as many as 19 people were rescued off the coast of Long Beach, California Sunday afternoon after strong winds knocked off the mast of a sailboat.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s warning
Mayor Todd Gloria said that the National Weather Service shows that the approaching storm system “has the potential to drop a significant and unusual amount of rainfall on San Diego. “I understand the weariness that comes from these repeated warnings,” Gloria said.Gloria added, “I recognize that fatigue may be settling in, but I can assure you, this decision to issue this warning is not taken lightly. It is becoming clear that these kind of rain events might become our new normal and what we must adapt to, meaning that we will face this situation multiple times. However, your safety remains my top priority.”