A state of emergency in eight central and southern counties has been declared by Governor Gavin Newsom. Around 5,00,000 California residents have lost power after forecasters warned of “one of the most dramatic weather days in recent times”. A stretch of land extending from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles is currently experiencing intense rainfall and strong winds. This weather phenomenon is attributed to an “atmospheric river” characterized by airborne currents of dense moisture.
Approximately 37 million residents, constituting 94% of the population, are currently under flood alerts. In response to the severe weather conditions, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Sunday, February 3, for eight central and southern counties. These counties encompass Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura—all situated in central and Southern California.
“California: this is a serious storm with dangerous and potentially life-threatening impacts. Please pay attention to any emergency orders or alerts from local officials,” Newsom said. “California is ready with a record number of emergency assets on the ground to respond to the impacts of this storm.”
Santa Barbara is experiencing “extremely high winds” along with floods. Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale informed that some trees have fallen taken down power lines and damaged a condominium complex.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning affecting over one million residents in communities northwest of Los Angeles, such as Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Simi Valley.
Given the hazardous conditions, several universities in California have transitioned to online classes. Flash flood warnings have been specifically issued for downtown Los Angeles, including the venue hosting the Grammy Awards. The areas under warning encompass Downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Inglewood, and Manhattan Beach.
In a separate incident, 19 individuals were rescued off the coast of Long Beach, California, on Sunday afternoon. The rescue operation was prompted by strong winds that caused the mast of a sailboat to be knocked off.
Mayor Todd Gloria said that the National Weather Service shows that the approaching storm system “has the potential to drop a significant and unusual amount of rainfall on San Diego. “I understand the weariness that comes from these repeated warnings,” Gloria said.