California hit by power outages, floods and an earthquake
Crews worked to rescue stranded drivers and reopen flooded roads early in the new year after an intense storm system caused power outages, landslides and flooding in parts of California.
More than 100,000 people were without power in the state as of Sunday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us. In Sacramento County, dozens of people trapped in partially or completely submerged vehicles have been rescued, according to Dan Quiggle, deputy fire chief for the Cosumnes Fire Department.
Quiggle said a person was found dead inside a submerged vehicle around 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Previously, one person had been reported missing, suspected of having been swept from a causeway.
“It’s a challenge at the moment given that we have dozens and dozens of vehicles abandoned by people who were rescued by our fire unit last night,” Quiggle told USA TODAY on Sunday.
The storm wasn’t the only natural phenomenon plaguing northern California on Sunday. About 200 miles northwest of Sacramento, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake closed a bridge while crews conducted safety inspections.
California storm creates dangerous travel
Dozens of drivers also had to be rescued along a snow-covered Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe on New Year’s Eve, and the road to the mountains from the San Francisco Bay Area reopened to passenger vehicles with Sunday morning channels. In some parts of the state, roads are still impassable due to flooding or snow.
“For many areas of the state, flooding and snow closures still exist,” the California Department of Transportation said Sunday.
A flash flood warning was extended in Sacramento County along the Cosumnes River on Sunday and Highway 99 remained closed. The Sacramento Bee reported two levee violations after Sacramento County officials said a levee failure was “imminent” and urged nearby residents to seek higher ground on Sunday.
An atmospheric river pervades San Francisco
The storms were the result of an atmospheric river of moisture – a long, wide plume of moisture drawn from the Pacific.
LANDSLIDES, FLOODS, SNOW:California is experiencing an intense storm
More than 4 feet of snow had accumulated in the high Sierra Nevada, and in downtown San Francisco, rainfall reached 5.46 inches on New Year’s Eve, making it the second wettest day never recorded. In the state capital, nearly 35,000 people were still without power Sunday noon, compared to 150,000 the day before.
5.4 magnitude earthquake near Eureka
Meanwhile, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake was recorded around 10:35 a.m. Sunday morning near Eureka, in an area already recovering from a 6.4 earthquake on December 20, killing two people, injuring at least 17 and extensively damaging buildings in the county of Humboldt.
Officials said State Route 211 in Fernbridge was closed as they assessed any structural damage to a bridge from Sunday’s earthquake.
Contributor: The Associated Press