Massive Floods Lead to State of Emergency in Northern Calif.

Northern California has experienced large-scale flooding and damaging winds which have contributed to at least two deaths. Dozens of people have been rescued and hundreds of thousands of Californians are without power.

Massive Floods Lead to State of Emergency in Northern Calif.
Image credit: AP [via PBS NewsHour]

Facts

  • Northern California has experienced large-scale flooding and damaging winds which have contributed to at least two deaths. Dozens of people have been rescued and hundreds of thousands of Californians are without power.
  • A major impact area was the agricultural area near Sacramento, including the low-elevation communities of Point Pleasant, Glanville Tract, and Franklin Pond.
  • Major roadway Highway 99 was flooded after the Cosumnes River overflowed. Highway 99 and other prominent roadways were closed in parts of the state but have since reopened.
  • The town of Wilton was under shelter-in-place orders due to “imminent levee failure,” as two levees already have been breached. Although rain has stopped, flood waters continue to rise
  • The heavy rains causing the flood come from an "atmospheric river" — a long, narrow band of moisture drawn from the tropics. The storm has hit Northern California the hardest so far but is expected to bring massive precipitation along other parts of the US west coast.
  • The storm has reportedly blanketed Soda Springs, Calif. with over 30 inches of snow.

Sources: CNN, PBS NewsHour, KCRA, SF Gate, and NBC.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by The Washington Post. Northern California is experiencing record levels of precipitation and flooding. The connection between the power and frequency of atmospheric river-driven storms and climate change is undeniable. This is yet another example of our climate emergency in action.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Financial Times. It's easy to dismiss any extreme weather event as a consequence of climate change, but in reality, they're usually influenced by a myriad of factors that have nothing to do with it. More research is needed before we can establish any direct causal link between the two.