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California storm leaves at least 1 dead, brings dangerous flooding and powerful winds

Dangerous weather in California forced evacuations, knocked out power and left a young child dead. 

Evacuations were ordered in preparation for the storm, which was expected to peak into early Thursday, and authorities warned residents to stay at home ahead of the dangerous conditions.

According to The Press Democrat, in Sonoma County, Occidental Volunteer Fire Chief Ronald Lunardi said a child believed to be under 2 years old died Wednesday after a tree fell on a home

“We anticipate that this may be one of the most challenging and impactful series of storms to touch down in California in the last five years,” Nancy Ward, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said. 

CALIFORNIA SHERIFF’S OFFICE SHOW EXACTLY WHY NO DRIVER SHOULD IGNORE ROAD CLOSED SIGNS

An empty vehicle is surrounded by floodwaters on a road in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.
((AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez))

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in response to the storm, authorizing the mobilization of the National Guard and activating the state’s operations center to its highest level.

“California is mobilizing to keep people safe from the impacts of the incoming storm,” Newsom said in a press release. “This state of emergency will allow the state to respond quickly as the storm develops and support local officials in their ongoing response.”

This GOES-West GeoColor satellite image made available by NOAA shows a storm system approaching along U.S. West coast at 9:16 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.

This GOES-West GeoColor satellite image made available by NOAA shows a storm system approaching along U.S. West coast at 9:16 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.
((NOAA via AP))

Flood warnings continued through Thursday in the Bay Area and the National Weather Service office in Sacramento said showers and thunderstorms would continue to affect portions of interior northern California.

According to tracker PowerOutage.US, more than 180,000 customers were without power across the Golden State on Thursday. 

A person walks on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.

A person walks on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.
((AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez))

SAN FRANCISCO RACES FOR POTENTIALLY LIFE-THREATENING BOMB CYCLONE THAT COULD BRING FLOODING, WINDS, MUDSLIDES

Winds gusting to 85 mph forced the cancelation of more than 70 flights at San Francisco International Airport. 

Firefighters there rescued a family Wednesday after a tree fell onto their car and the department reported that “large pieces of glass” fell off the Fox Plaza tower near the Civic Center and that it was “highly possible” the damage to the skyscraper was wind-related.

In this photo provided by Caltrans District 1, crews work at removing multiple fallen trees blocking U.S. Highway 101 in Humboldt County near Trinidad, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.

In this photo provided by Caltrans District 1, crews work at removing multiple fallen trees blocking U.S. Highway 101 in Humboldt County near Trinidad, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.
((Caltrans District 1 via AP))

The city’s mayor, London Breed, told reporters that it was “preparing for a war.”

The atmospheric river storm also forced the closure of a stretch of Highway 1 in southern California, as well as a stretch of Highway 101 farther north.

A man loads the back of his car with sandbags, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Pacifica, Calif. 

A man loads the back of his car with sandbags, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, in Pacifica, Calif. 
((AP Photo/Haven Daley))

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The bomb cyclone came just days after a New Year’s Eve downpour led to evacuations in northern California and the rescue of several motorists from flooded roads. A few levees south of Sacramento were damaged, and at least four people died in the flooding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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