Cyclone Bomb and ‘Atmospheric River’ Pummel California
California was worst hit on Sunday in what meteorologists called a “bomb cyclone” and “atmospheric river,” a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of. the bay area, as well as high winds, lightning flooding and the potential for heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.
From Marin County to the area just south of Big Sur along the Pacific Coast, flash flood watches were in effect until late Sunday evening and in some areas early Monday morning, including parts from the San Francisco Peninsula. The system is so large that it was expected reach southern British Columbia Monday, when it was expected to bring rain and strong winds, according to the National Weather Service of Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.
The convergence of storms comes at a difficult time for California, which has been besieged by wildfires and drought, the result of extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change.
Images of a devastator landslide on Highway 70 in Plumas County showed a deluge of rocks and vegetation that had descended on the side of a mountain and blocked the highway.
The California governor’s office of emergency services said the Twitter early Sunday he was monitoring burn scars in Kern, Santa Cruz and El Dorado counties. “Excessive rainfall” on the El Dorado County burn scar caused by the Caldor fire could lead to life-threatening flash floods, the National Weather Service in Sacramento said Sunday morning.
By 4:30 p.m. local time as of Sunday, at least 147,000 Bay Area utility customers had lost power, said JD Guidi, spokesperson for Pacific Gas and Electric. More than half of these outages were reported in the San Francisco Peninsula and in Sonoma and Marin counties.
Although Oregon and Washington did not see significant precipitation from the storm on Sunday night, strong winds possibly to blame for 185,000 power outages in Washington and at least 19,000 in Oregon, according to PowerOutage.US.
Parts of Washington experienced strong gusts of wind, including Everett, about 25 miles north of Seattle, where gusts of up to 61 mph were recorded, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. Winds are expected to increase Sunday night and remain gusty through Monday, the office said on Twitter.
âThe atmospheric river is running a fire hose, if you will, in our area,â said Sean Miller, a meteorologist for the Monterey, Calif., Weather service, the Bay Area forecasting office on Sunday.
An atmospheric river is a concentrated plume of moisture that spans the ocean, usually into the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere, Miller said. The current trough was oriented towards North Bay, he said.
In the Pacific Northwest, a bomb cyclone, a type of storm known for its declining air pressure, is expected to push the atmospheric river south, affecting areas south of San Francisco, Miller said.
âIt’s more typical of something we tend to see in December or January,â he said, stressing that the confluence of the two weather phenomena was âabnormalâ.
High winds and heavy rains prompted authorities to close sidewalks on the the golden gate bridge on Sunday. In the East Bay, the organizers of the Alameda County Fair closed the event on Sunday due to the storm, while an Ironman triathlon scheduled for Sunday in Sacramento was canceled.
The NFL game on Sunday night between the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, however, went as planned, albeit under heavy rain at times.
Throughout the day, the San Francisco Fire Department posted updates on Twitter on floods, felled trees, fires and disabled vehicles on flooded roads.
The Santa Clara County Fire Department said on Sunday it had responded to several vehicle crashes, fallen cables and downed trees throughout the afternoon.
In the town of Los Altos, about 17 northwest of San Jose, a tree fell on a passing vehicle, but no one was injured, the department said. Twitter.
âToday is a great day to stay home,â the department said.
In Santa Rosa, about 55 miles north of San Francisco, the roads in parts of the city looked like streams. The city’s fire department said several streams and streets were flooded and urged residents to avoid travel.
At 4 p.m. local time, the Santa Rosa Fire Department declared the Twitter that water levels had “declined significantly”, but that road closures and evacuations would remain in effect until rainfall rates declined.
The flood was not confined to the Bay Area as landslides and dangerous road conditions were reported in parts of northern California. In Truckee, north of Lake Tahoe, the California Highway Patrol said on twitter Sunday afternoon rocks and water had fallen on the mountainside, blocking a road.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation extending the state of drought emergency in California and called on residents to redouble their water conservation efforts. This is the second driest year on record in California, with near-record storage in the state’s largest reservoirs, the governor’s office said.
Severe drought conditions, made worse by climate change, continue to affect much of the western United States and even the northern part of the Great Plains.
Although droughts are not uncommon in the region, scientists say climate change, in the form of warming temperatures and changes in rainfall, is making the situation worse.