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Californians are recovering after a catastrophic storm that caused life-threatening flooding and left nearly one million people without power with forecasters warning that the storm could stall over major cities into this week.

The storm is the second Pineapple Express weather system to hit the state in the past week and arrived just as Los Angeles welcomed celebrities for the Grammy Awards, where the red carpet was tented.

The severe conditions prompted the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Bay Area office to issue a rare hurricane-force wind warning for Big Sur and nearby areas. Residents have been urged to ‘protect life’ and to stay home wherever possible.

The rain canceled the final round of the professional golf tournament at Pebble Beach in Northern California‘s Monterey County. Because heavy rain was forecast for Monday, the PGA Tour ended the event after only three days, naming Wyndham Clark the winner.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in eight counties with a combined population of more than 20 million people, and flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Catastrophic floods and life-threatening landslides hit California after ‘bomb cyclone’ sweeps in: 40m are warned to ‘protect life’ as first ever hurricane alert is issued, hundreds of flights are canceled and half a year’s rain is due Tuesday

The second of back-to-back atmospheric rivers battered California Sunday

Forecasters have warned that the storm could hover of major cities in the state for the next couple of days

Forecasters have warned that the storm could hover of major cities in the state for the next couple of days

A woman walks across a flooded crosswalk during an atmospheric river weather event in Santa Barbara

A woman walks across a flooded crosswalk during an atmospheric river weather event in Santa Barbara

‘This has the potential to be a historic storm, severe winds, thunderstorms, and even brief tornadoes,’ Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told a news conference.

The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County were not only getting drenched but the storm was expected to stall or reverse course over some areas into Tuesday, creating severe risk of flooding and mudslides.

‘The Monday evening commute is going to be a complete disaster to say the least. In fact, it’s going to be bad enough that I would recommend everybody stay home in L.A. if we possibly can,’ Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles, said in a live-stream on Sunday.

The NWS recorded peak wind gusts of 80 mph or higher in some places.

More than 900,000 homes and businesses lacked electricity on Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.

Near Los Angeles, the port city of Long Beach could get more rain this week than it does during an entire year, said Mayor Rex Richardson, who is expecting 5-7 inches starting Sunday through Tuesday.

California’s southern and central coasts are bracing for an inch of rain an hour and totals of 3-6 inches, the U.S. National Weather Service said. As much as 6-12 inches are expected in the foothills and lower-elevation mountains.

The Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas were both at high risk for excessive rainfall on Sunday and Monday, with forecasters anticipating ‘near continuous rainfall’ for 48 hours.

Evacuation orders were issued for some of those counties’ residents, as well as people in the San Jose region, Ventura County and two areas of Los Angeles County that previously suffered wildfires, making the denuded terrain more vulnerable to mudslides.

The current ‘bomb cyclone’ – a term denoting a storm that rapidly intensifies over 24 hours – could dump more than 8 trillion gallons of precipitation on the state. 

Sandbags and plastic are used to prevent erosion and mudslides during heavy rains in Malibu

Sandbags and plastic are used to prevent erosion and mudslides during heavy rains in Malibu

A view of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) during heavy rain

A view of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) during heavy rain

Flight information monitors in San Francisco on Sunday, the storm resulted in the canceling of dozens of flights

Flight information monitors in San Francisco on Sunday, the storm resulted in the canceling of dozens of flights

California is bracing for what could be days of heavy rains, flooding on roads and knocking out power to nearly 800,000 people, with 97 percent of the state's population under flood warnings

California is bracing for what could be days of heavy rains, flooding on roads and knocking out power to nearly 800,000 people, with 97 percent of the state’s population under flood warnings

The current 'bomb cyclone' - a term denoting a storm that rapidly intensifies over 24 hours - could dump more than 8 trillion gallons of precipitation on the state including San Francisco

The current ‘bomb cyclone’ – a term denoting a storm that rapidly intensifies over 24 hours – could dump more than 8 trillion gallons of precipitation on the state including San Francisco 

The storm inundated streets and brought down trees and electrical lines across the San Francisco Bay Area, where winds topped 60 mph in some areas, blowing what looked like a white flag of tarpaulin off a building. Gusts exceeding 80 mph were recorded in the mountains.

A video out of Los Angeles caught chilling images of planes flying into the city as they tried to navigate the terrible conditions. 

In Southern California, officials warned of potentially devastating flooding and ordered evacuations for canyons that burned in recent wildfires that are at high risk for mud and debris flows. 

The National Weather Service office for Los Angeles warned that ‘all systems are go for one of the most dramatic weather days in recent memory.’

One Home Depot in Santa Barbara, which saw some of the worst of the chaos in videos posted online, sold out on sandbags and was instead offering customers potting soil and fertilizer. 

‘This storm is predicted to be one of the largest and most significant in our county´s history, and our goal is to get through it without any fatalities or any serious injuries,’ Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters Saturday. 

Classes were canceled Monday for schools across the county, which was devastated by mudslides caused by powerful storms in 2018.

Strong winds and heavy rain brought treacherous conditions to the coastal city of Ventura, west of Los Angeles.

More than 790,000 customers were without electricity statewide by Sunday evening, with most of the outages concentrated in coastal regions, according to poweroutage.us.

Six San Francisco Bay Area counties were at low risk of waterspouts coming ashore and becoming tornadoes, said the Storm Prediction Center. 

Search and rescue workers evacuate men from a homeless encampment that became surrounded by floodwater from the Guadalupe River

Search and rescue workers evacuate men from a homeless encampment that became surrounded by floodwater from the Guadalupe River

A boater stands on the bow of an anchored sailboat as waves crash over a breakwater in Alameda

A boater stands on the bow of an anchored sailboat as waves crash over a breakwater in Alameda

Search and rescue workers investigate a car surrounded by floodwater

Search and rescue workers investigate a car surrounded by floodwater

A vehicle drives through water on a flooded street in Ventura

A vehicle drives through water on a flooded street in Ventura

The last time the center forecasted a tornado risk in the region was in February 2015, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Winds caused hours-long delays at San Francisco International Airport. By 2:30 p.m. Sunday, 155 departing flights were delayed and 69 had been canceled, according to the tracking website FlightAware.

The visibly bad weather didn’t stop droves of San Francisco 49ers fans from braving the storm to send their team off to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas Sunday. 

Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, said it was anticipating the heaviest snowfall yet this season, with accumulations of 6 inches per hour for a total of up to two feet. 

Heavy snow was expected into Monday throughout the Sierra Nevada and motorists were urged to avoid mountain roads.

Much of the state had been drying out from the system that blew in last week, causing flooding and dumping welcome snow in the mountains. 

The latest storm, also called a ‘Pineapple Express’ because its plume of moisture stretches back across the Pacific to near Hawaii, arrived offshore in Northern California on Saturday, when most of the state was under some sort of wind, surf or flood watch.

The weather service on Sunday issued a rare ‘hurricane force wind warning’ for the Central Coast, with wind gusts of up to 92 mph possible from the Monterey Peninsula to the northern section of San Luis Obispo County.

A man carrying an umbrella stands perched above a flooded street in Ventura

A man carrying an umbrella stands perched above a flooded street in Ventura

Rescue workers assist a boater, left, after his sailboat drifted to a breakwater while dragging its anchor

Rescue workers assist a boater, left, after his sailboat drifted to a breakwater while dragging its anchor 

A man looks toward a fallen tree and power lines blocking a road in Pebble Beach

A man looks toward a fallen tree and power lines blocking a road in Pebble Beach

San Francisco 49ers fans brave the treacherous weather to send their team off to the Super Bowl Sunday

San Francisco 49ers fans brave the treacherous weather to send their team off to the Super Bowl Sunday

San Francisco firefighters posted this video of the waves coming in from the bay Sunday

San Francisco firefighters posted this video of the waves coming in from the bay Sunday

The rain forced organizers to postpone the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in Monterey County until Monday.

Meanwhile, Southern California was at risk of substantial flooding beginning late Sunday because of how slow the system was moving, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist at the weather service´s Los Angeles-area office.

‘The core of the low-pressure system is very deep, and it´s moving very slowly and it’s very close to us. And that´s why we have those very strong winds. And the slow nature of it is really giving us the highest rainfall totals and the flooding risk,’ he said at a Sunday briefing.

Evacuation orders and warnings were in effect for mountain and canyon areas of Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. 

LA County Supervisor Lindsay Horvath urged residents near wildfire burn areas of Topanga and Soledad canyons to heed orders to get out ahead of possible mudslides.

A drift boat washes ashore during a rainstorm in Santa Barbara

A drift boat washes ashore during a rainstorm in Santa Barbara

People fill sandbags during a rainstorm in Santa Barbara

People fill sandbags during a rainstorm in Santa Barbara

Fallen trees and power lines block a road in Pebble Beach

Fallen trees and power lines block a road in Pebble Beach

Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, said it was anticipating the heaviest snowfall yet this season, with accumulations of 6 inches per hour for a total of up to two feet

Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, said it was anticipating the heaviest snowfall yet this season, with accumulations of 6 inches per hour for a total of up to two feet 

‘If you have not already left, please gather your family, your pets, your medications and leave immediately,’ Horvath said at a Sunday briefing. The county set up shelters where evacuees could spend the night.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. 

The Governor´s Office of Emergency Services activated its operations center and positioned personnel and equipment in areas most at risk.

The weather service forecast up to 8 inches of rainfall across Southern California´s coastal and valley areas, with 14 inches possible in the foothills and mountains. 

Heavy to moderate rain is expected in Southern California until Tuesday.





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