SACRAMENTO — A wave of rain battered California Wednesday morning as the state braced for another powerful storm that forecasters said could cause more flooding, landslides and catastrophic damage just days after another “atmospheric river” drenched the West Coast. Winds will come.

Generally, there will be no significant impact on the amount of rain expected over the next few days. But rain over the weekend saturated much of California like a wet sponge, forecasters said, leaving the state more susceptible to flooding and rapid runoff.

That has left officials up and down the coast bracing for another round of deluge — in a state that, at other times of the year, has become increasingly vulnerable to drought and wildfires.

Storm preparations were in full swing across the state. By Wednesday morning, San Francisco had already run out of sandbags to provide residents; City officials said they expected more later in the day. In Northern California, several parks were off Because there is a danger of trees falling due to strong wind gusts.

A flood warning was in effect from Wednesday evening into Thursday north of San Francisco, and a flood watch was in effect in southern California. Rain was forecast to start slow, then become heavy throughout Wednesday with strong winds and thunderstorms.

“Don’t let your guard down,” the weather service warned.

Meteorologists suggest preparing for floods, falling trees and power outages, and say travel by road be difficult or impossible in some areas, Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom said on twitter The state’s operations center was at its highest emergency level on Wednesday.

As the storm approached Tuesday night, a mandatory evacuation order was issued in the flood-prone city of Watsonville south of San Francisco and other parts of Santa Cruz County. The city of San Jose declared a local emergency, as did the adjacent counties of San Mateo and Santa Cruz.

In Sacramento, where forecasts called for up to three inches of rain in an area already inundated by a storm on New Year’s Eve, homeowners braced for a new round of power outages and flooded streets on Wednesday morning. Were prepared.

“I came here to buy flashlights and batteries,” said 64-year-old Ramona Saunders, shivering in the pouring rain outside a hardware store near her home in Carmichael.

She said, “I’m just going up and down because I think maybe I’ve forgotten something important.”

Ms. Carmichael, a retired government employee, said a California pepper tree outside her home had already been blown down in a New Year’s Eve storm, and she was concerned that the maple in her front yard would be next.

“I keep thinking, ‘Please don’t let this become a hurricane,'” she said. “I just don’t want to be on the 6 o’clock news.”

In flood-prone San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, many students were told to go home early on Wednesday and not return to school on Thursday. The South San Francisco Unified School District and the San Mateo Union High School District canceled classes for Thursday due to inclement weather.

The new storm is expected to bring up to four inches of rain and winds up to 40 mph in California’s inland valleys and 60 to 80 mph in the Coastal Hills over the next few days. service.

There is a possibility of heavy snowfall in the mountains as well. Water officials announced Tuesday that surveys and readings show statewide snowfall was 174 percent of the average for the date — a glimmer of hope for the storm in drought-stricken California.

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range supplies about 30 percent of the state’s water, according to the Department of Water Resources. The Snowy Mountains serve as important water storage during the dry, warm months until the snow melts, sending fresh water into the state’s rivers and reservoirs.

Still, water experts caution that no matter how much rain falls in the coming days, residents should still plan for conservation. They pointed to the fact that in 2021, significant December snowpack could turn January, February and March into the driest on record, leaving Californians to navigate increasingly dire warnings and water-use restrictions in summer Went.

The situation underscores California’s water conundrum: The state desperately needs a very wet winter, but any time it gets drenched by a major storm, it also risks damage and chaos.

“This is a prime example of the increased risk of extreme flooding during prolonged drought as California experiences greater swings between wet and dry periods due to our changing climate,” Carla Nemeth, the department’s director, said in a statement.

The latest storm is part of a series of atmospheric rivers – channels of moisture from the tropical Pacific Ocean – that meteorologists expect will continue through mid-January. “The message to convey is resilience, because this is not a ‘done and done’ storm,” said the Bay Area Office of the Weather Service. said wednesday morning,

Heavy rain and snow have brought relief to drought-stricken California, especially its agriculture industry. Don Cameron said, “It’s really a godsend, just to see these storms lining up and hitting California, with production growing on 8,500 acres in the southern San Joaquin Valley.”

But the rising water has inundated roads and houses in some parts of the state. Water gushed out of streets and basements on Wednesday in downtown San Francisco, one of the areas expected to be hardest hit by the coming storm.

A whirlwind river that drenched the West Coast on December 26 killed at least five people. Another storm system drenched California again on Tuesday before moving east across the country, bringing strong tornadoes, blizzards and flooding across the Plains, upper Midwest and parts of the South after snow fell on Utah and Arizona .

The National Weather Service said the storm was expected to decrease in intensity by Wednesday night as it continues toward the East Coast. more spells of heavy rain is expected To hit California on Saturday and then again on Monday.

Sean Hubler reported from Sacramento. Derrick Bryson Taylor, Jill Cowan, Christine Hauser, Soumya Karlamangala And judson jones Contributed to reporting.

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