Roads cut, power outages … a “cyclonic bomb” is wreaking havoc in California

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A deluge of water continues, this Thursday, January 5, to fall on California. The region was hit by a “cyclonic bomb”, bringing strong winds and torrential rains which deprived tens of thousands of homes of electricity and caused the closure of several roads.

California, already weakened by a series of winter storms, did not need that. A deluge of water continues, this Thursday, January 5, to fall on the region, hit the day before by a “cyclonic bomb”. This meteorological phenomenon, bringing strong winds and torrential rains, deprived tens of thousands of homes of electricity and caused the closure of several roads.

Northern California, especially around San Francisco and Sacramento, is the region most at risk. Authorities warned of landslides and flooding, warning that this storm was capable of killing people.

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Power cuts and flight cancellations

Its first effects were felt this Wednesday afternoon: more than 60,000 homes suffered power cuts, according to the PowerOutage site, while more than 80 flights to or from San Francisco airport were canceled, according to the Flightaware site.

In some counties in the region (Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara), several roads were cut due to flooding, falling trees or landslides.

“Avoid going out on the road”

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Wednesday morning to facilitate the emergency response and streamline the reaction of the authorities in the event of an incident. San Francisco has set up an emergency operations center and interrupted the circulation of its famous cable cars. “If you have no obligations to be outdoors in San Francisco, avoid going out on the road,” warned Rachel Gordon, an official with the city’s public works department.

Bars and restaurants there remained closed on Wednesday and some residents were asked to work from home. City firefighters reported several falling trees Wednesday morning and some minor flooding, before the heart of the storm arrived.

The multiplication of storms

“We had a similar flood in October,” San Francisco resident Denise Srivastava told CBS. “They call it the storm of the century, but it looks like we’re going to have two of these in a week.” Northern California is still suffering the effects of a series of storms.

The latest swept through on New Year’s Eve and caused landslides and power cuts. At least one person has died after being trapped in their car by flooding, authorities said. Under these conditions, the soils of the region, drained by the drought that has hit the American West for two decades, will have difficulty absorbing a new deluge, which increases the risk of flash floods.

A less and less exceptional meteorological phenomenon

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The rain expected on Wednesday comes from an “atmospheric river,” a narrow, river-like band in the atmosphere that carries huge amounts of moisture from the tropics.

Far from being exceptional in winter, this current phenomenon is accompanied by a “cyclonic bomb”, a system capable of causing the pressure to drop suddenly, thus generating very violent winds. According to meteorologists, the series of storms currently battering California is not about to stop. “We are expecting another over the weekend,” Mr. Solum announced. “And then potentially several storms for next week. And possibly the following week as well.”

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