The second atmospheric river under Category 5 hit California on Sunday, causing widespread chaos and leaving over 800,000 residents without power. The intense storm system has brought with it the threat of flash floods, mudslides, and extreme winds.

Category 5 Atmospheric Storm in California

San Francisco and other northern parts of the state were among the first to feel the brunt of the storm. Torrential downpours have led to life-threatening flood threats, prompting emergency responses from local authorities. Southern regions, including Los Angeles and San Diego, are now also under a state of emergency.

The storm is the second atmospheric river to hit the state in a matter of days, but it is stronger, especially in the southern part of the state. About 94% of people living in California, or 37 million people, were warned they could face dangerous floods. It has already caused significant disruptions. Power outages are widespread and roadways have been flooded, making travel hazardous.

In the San Bernardino County mountains, forecasts predicted up to 11 inches of rain on south-facing slopes. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service warned that another two to five inches of rain could fall in some areas.

Areas that have previously experienced wildfires are particularly vulnerable to mudslides, as the scorched earth is less capable of absorbing water.

The severity of the storm has led to an emergency declaration in eight counties. Residents are being urged to stay indoors where possible and to remain vigilant for updates from local authorities.

As California reels from the impact of this storm, questions are being raised about the state’s preparedness for such weather events and the strategies in place to mitigate their effects. The aftermath of this atmospheric river will undoubtedly lead to discussions about infrastructure resilience and climate adaptation strategies. Scientists have long warned that climate change can intensify such storms, leading to more severe and frequent flooding and wind damage.

Image Source: CNBC