March 22, 2023


At least two people have died as the result of the ongoing storms inundating California, and nearly 10,000 residents are under evacuation orders, officials said, as intense flooding threatens several coastal counties.

The powerful storms have delivered heavy rainfall across the central and northern parts of the state, prompting the Weather Prediction Center to issue a Level 4 of 4 warning of excessive rainfall in the area.

Meanwhile, the state of emergency declaration requested by Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday night has been approved by President Joe Biden, clearing the way for financial help in responding to the storm’s onslaught and recovery, said Nancy Ward, director of the state’s Office of Emergency Services.

Some 25 million people are under flood alerts issued by the National Weather Service, and more than 25,000 are without electricity, according to

Some isolated areas of the state have received more than a foot of rain, according to the National Weather Service, as the heaviest rain will shift south and lessen in intensity this evening and into the overnight hours. But rain will continue through the weekend and could lead to more flooding concerns.

As residents in many of California’s mountain communities remain trapped by snow from back-to-back winter storms, another significant atmospheric river event is expected to impact the region early next week.

The National Water Center said, “Multiple rounds of rainfall in addition to melting snow will result in the potential for significant rises along streams and rivers, with widespread flooding impacts possible through early next week.”

Two fatalities have been confirmed and approximately 9,400 residents are under evacuation orders, Ward said at a Friday news conference.

Flash flooding is expected to be a particular concern in California’s central coast to the Sierra Nevada foothills over the next six to eight hours, David Lawrence from the National Weather Service said. More than a dozen shelters have been opened in nine counties to house those forced from their homes, Ward added.

CalTrans, the state’s transportation department, has about 4,000 crew members working 12-hour shifts during this weather event, who are already removing downed trees and clearing drainage culverts to minimize flooding, deputy director John McKeever said. The California National Guard has deployed 36 high water vehicles to respond to rescues as well, added Cal Guard’s David Kauffman.

In Fresno County, three elderly women, including a 104-year-old, were rescued after being stranded in a house, Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni said. By Friday afternoon, floodwaters in the county had “risen considerably” and an evacuation order was put in place for all residents, according to the sheriff’s office.

The worst rainfall and most significant impacts expected to persist through the day Friday. Hourly rainfall rates will steadily increase in intensity across California through Friday morning, potentially reaching 1 inch per hour.

Parts of the Sierra Nevada above 8,000 feet could get hit with 8 feet of snow. Creeks and streams in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains remain the most vulnerable areas for flooding from rain and snowmelt, the Weather Prediction Center said.


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