An atmospheric river made its way slowly across California this week, a weather term meaning a long stream of moisture and resulting in drenching rain. While California needs the water, the record-setting wildfires of 2020 left desolate burn scars, which became dangerous mudslides as several inches of water fell within hours combined with strong winds.
At least two dozen homes were damaged in Monterey County alone, south of San Francisco, when the debris flow from multiple mudslides crashed into nearby communities.
Yesterday, Fremont firefighters were deployed to Monterey County as part of Strike Team XAL 2870C’s pre-position assignment. Today the crew is assigned to patrol along River Rd & provide damage assessments on homes. The watershed is overtaxed and threatening roads & developments. pic.twitter.com/g9Yj7LYpCu— Fremont Fire Department (@FremontFire) January 28, 2021
“A few residents in their vehicles had been trapped in a mudslide, so they were able to get out. But as we discovered in the neighborhoods, some homes between 20 and 25 residences and outbuildings had been at least partially damaged by the mudflow,” Monterey County Deputy Fire Marshal Dorothy Priolo told the media.
MCRFD working with local property owners on damage assessment In the River Rd area. Thank you to all the local ranchers helping with heavy equipment needs. pic.twitter.com/9xcVPio9kT— Mont. Co. Regional Fire (@mcrfd) January 27, 2021
Flash flood warnings and watches popped up all over the state Tuesday and Wednesday. Big Sur reported nearly ten inches of rain in 24 hours.
Photos of #Hwy1 in the Big Sur area following rain and slide activity within the existing highway closure from Ragged Point to south of Deetjens Inn. This closure will remain in effect through Friday, Jan. 29. Road information at:https://t.co/3LbBe8so71 @CaltransD5 pic.twitter.com/YtUqnF580n— Jim Shivers (@PIOJimShivers) January 28, 2021
Strong winds toppled trees and blew debris crashing into cars, homes and buildings. Hundreds of people in Sacramento spent Wednesday and Thursday morning assessing damage from trees.
Some of the storm damage from last nights winds. Our crews are working to repair extensive damage from downed trees and poles cause by the storm. Crews are working quickly and safely to restore power. Report outages at https://t.co/R7TLtSGpix. pic.twitter.com/mL4ga7Z5pz— SMUD (@SMUDUpdates) January 27, 2021
At one point, about 400,000 people were without power because of the powerful winds. Winds were gusting in excess of 50 mph around Northern California, and topped 120 mph near Lake Tahoe at Alpine Ski Resort.
Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday for parts of California, and possibly more wet weather early next week.