Atmospheric river leaves a destructive path through California
A fierce winter storm packed with subtropical moisture continued its destructive path across California, triggering widespread flooding that prompted evacuations and unleashing a mudslide that sent one home sliding into another in Marin County.
Southern Marin fire officials said the mudslide dislodged the home from its foundation and pushed it down a hill before it slammed into another residence.
Rescuers pulled a woman from the wreckage after they saw her hand sticking out of the debris. Caked in mud, she was wheeled on a stretcher into an ambulance. Officials evacuated 50 homes in the area after the hillside gave way.
“Surprisingly, she was in great condition,” Southern Marin Fire Protection District Capt. Doug Paterson said of the woman. “She was talking to us. She was alert. She was able to tell us exactly what had happened.”
Other Bay Area cities also got a solid soaking. San Francisco received more than 3 inches of rain in the same time frame and faced wind gusts of up to 50 mph. The conditions prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash-flood watch and high-wind warning for the region.
The massive storm has already broken daily precipitation records after 1.94 inches of rain fell in downtown Sacramento on Wednesday. That shattered the record of 1.61 inches set in 1926, according to the weather service.
Forecasters said San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties were hit hard during the storm. Some areas saw more than 3 inches of rain along the coast and more than 10 inches at higher elevations, said Casey Oswant, a meteorologist with the weather service in San Diego.
“Usually these storms are stronger up north, but this one is hitting our area much harder,” said James Brotherton, a meteorologist with the weather service in San Diego. “It’s definitely stronger than others we’ve experienced, and it’s likely the strongest we’ve seen this winter.”
Some residents whose communities were affected by last year’s Holy fire in Riverside and Orange counties were told to leave their homes before the brunt of the storm hit Thursday.
Laguna Beach in Orange County faced a similar concern hours later, prompting officials to evacuate a cluster of homes and businesses along Laguna Canyon Road. Officials warned residents on social media and made announcements over a loudspeaker at the city’s beaches that Laguna Canyon Creek had reached levels that could trigger flooding in the city’s downtown.
Downtown Los Angeles saw more than 2 inches of rain. That means the area has seen 15.5 inches of precipitation this rainy season, which began Oct. 1, surpassing the annual average of 14.93 inches.