Death toll from California’s winter storms continues to rise

A Toyota automobile is submerged along Green Valley Road near Folsom Dam in Folsom, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2017.
A Toyota automobile is submerged along Green Valley Road near Folsom Dam in Folsom, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2017.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

An 81-year-old woman in Bakersfield who drowned after being swept away in floodwaters is the latest confirmed storm-related death in California, authorities said.

On Tuesday, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office identified the woman as Vivian Mary Robinson, who was last seen leaving work on Jan. 5.

Robinson’s vehicle was found Jan. 7 on the side of the road in the 7600 block of Edison Road in Bakersfield, officials said.

Two days before, the first in a series of storms swept across Northern California and the Central Valley, triggering flash flood warnings in Kern County and elsewhere. Robinson, who had no relatives, was last seen the day of the storm, said sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt.

It appeared her car had become disabled, he said.

“For whatever reason, she made a decision to get out of her vehicle. It looks like she was swept away in floodwaters and drowned,” Pruitt said.


Robinson’s death was one of several storm-related fatalities amid California’s wettest winter in years.

On Jan. 7, Deborah McKeown, 56, was killed on a Contra Costa County golf course by a falling tree.

On Jan. 8, Jarnail Singh Sidhu, 57, drowned after he lost control of his taxi and it landed in an estuary in Alameda County.

On Jan. 9, Jose Enrique Hernandez, 20, died when his car became submerged in a creek after he lost control and the vehicle flew off a bridge in Marin County.

On Jan. 11, Jenna Santos, 19, died after she lost control of her car on Highway 101 near Willits and it rolled into a creek.

In possibly a sixth storm-related death, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said Tuesday that it was investigating whether a body found floating in Leeward Bay Marina is that of a man believed swept away in fast-moving waters in the Dominguez Channel last week.

Additional storms are expected in the state this week.

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