Wednesday, March 22, 2023

California: The storm broke the embankment of the California River, hundreds of people were evacuated – Usky News



WATSONVILLE: Hundreds of people in a northern California farming community were forced to leave their homes early Saturday after a levee along the Pajaro River broke.
First responders and the California National Guard rescued more than 50 people overnight from the unincorporated Monterey Bay community of Pajaro along California’s Central Coast. A video showed a member of the guard helping the driver out of a car stuck in waist-deep flood water.
“We were hoping to avoid and prevent this situation, but the worst has come at midnight with the Pajaro River overtopping and levee breaching,” Luis wrote. alejoThe President of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Twitter.
Alejo called the flood “enormous”, adding that it had affected 1,700 residents of Pajaro and that it would take months to repair the damage.
People sleeping in evacuation centers began working to fix the embankment around dawn on Saturday.
The storm marked the state’s 10th atmospheric river of the winter, a storm that brought heavy amounts of rain and snow to the state and helped ease three years of drought conditions. State reservoirs that had dropped to astonishingly low levels are now well above average for this time of year, prompting state officials to release water from dams to aid flood control and make room for more rain Did.
State transportation officials said Friday that they removed so much snow from roadways in February that it would be enough to fill the iconic Rose Bowl 100 times.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in 34 counties in recent weeks, and the Biden administration approved presidential disaster declarations for some on Friday morning, a move that will bring more federal aid.
Emergency officials have warned people to stay off the roads if they can and to heed flash flood warnings.
The atmospheric river, known as the “Pineapple Express” because it brings warm subtropical moisture into the Pacific from near Hawaii, was melting the lower parts of the vast snowpack that had built up in the California mountains. Snowfall levels in the Sierra Nevada, which provides about a third of the state’s water supply, are more than 180% above the April 1 average, when it historically peaked.
Forecasters said the snow cover at higher elevations is so vast that it was expected to be able to absorb rain, but below 4,000 feet (1,219 m) the snow may begin to melt, potentially contributing to flooding. Is.
Lake Auroville – one of the state’s most important reservoirs and home to the country’s tallest dam – holds so much water that officials on Friday opened the dam’s spillways for the first time since April 2019. Reservoir water has risen 180 feet (54.8 m) since 1 December. Seven of the state’s 17 major reservoirs are still below their historical averages this year.
State water managers were also grappling with how best to use the storms to help them emerge from severe drought. On Friday, Newsom signed an executive order making it easier for farmers and water agencies to use floodwaters to refill underground aquifers. Groundwater provides an average of about 41% of the state’s supply each year. But many of these underground basins have been overdrawn in recent years.
Forecasters have warned that mountain travel could go from impossible to difficult during the latest storm. At higher elevations, the storm was predicted to drop heavy snow of up to 8 feet (2.4 m) over several days.
Yet another atmospheric river is already in the forecast for early next week. State climatologist Michael Anderson said a third Pacific region and possibly a fourth are taking shape.
Anderson said California appeared “well on its way to a fourth year of drought” ahead of the early winter series of storms. “We are in a very different position now,” he said.

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