Parts of California and Nevada Subject to Flooding

Heavy rains over the weekend of January 7 and 8, 2017, caused flooding in Northern California and east of Lake Tahoe in Nevada, forced thousands of residents from their homes, with more rain in the forecast for Tuesday and Tuesday night, Jan. 10, 2017.

Monday, January 9, brought a brief respite from the heavy rains in a storm system termed the “Pineapple Express” that carries moist, warm air from Hawaii on to the mainland. Parts of Northern California recorded more than a foot of rain in the period of Friday, January 6 through Sunday evening, January 8.

In addition to the unusual amount of rain in areas that have been subject to drought for a number of years, winds are also treacherous, with speeds of 80 mph expected along US-395 and perhaps more than 150 mph in the Sierra ridge today.

The Lake Tahoe area has issued blizzard warnings for Tuesday, January 10, the first in nearly a decade. A coastal flood advisory is expected to be issued in the San Francisco Bay area for Tuesday, January 10, through Friday, January 13, 2017.

Four deaths have been attributed to the heavy rains, wind and subsequent flooding in California San Francisco, with a woman walking on a golf course path being struck by a tree felled by 50 mph winds in San Ramon, and two motorists, one a cab driver, were also killed in storm-related accidents. Scott McGuire of the National Weather Service advised people to avoid traveling if possible.

Emergency rescue crews have been busy aiding stranded motorists and assisting with evacuations. In addition to the flooding issues, authorities are concerned that trees weakened by the long drought will be vulnerable to the high winds and eroding away of soil from the flooding.

On Saturday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval declared a state of emergency in the counties of Douglas, Lyon, Storey and Washoe, along with the City of Carson City, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in anticipation of the expected damage and threat to life from the incoming storm system.


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