Three more storms are lined up to hit the Golden State through the weekend, threatening to push swollen rivers over their banks and trigger more mudslides and power outages, state officials said.

Iran PressAmerica: The unrelenting series of pounding storms over at least 11 days has left no part of California untouched, and there is no sign that the skies are going to clear up any time soon.

The storms have already flooded towns from north to south, loaded inland mountains with snow and transformed the often dry Los Angeles River into a raging channel.

At least 17 people have died in the downpours, which started in late December and stretched into the new year. And more rain is expected.

Flooding concerns will continue into Thursday, the National Weather Service Sacramento said on Twitter. 

“It’s really rare to get this series of storms,” Michael Anderson, state climatologist for the Department of Water Resources, said at a media briefing on Tuesday.

Officials are now concerned about the “cumulative impacts” of the near constant deluge that’s left little time for floodwaters to recede. 

On Tuesday morning, amid the latest round of rain, nearly 100,000 residents were under evacuation orders or warnings, state officials said, and about 220,000 utility customers were without power. More than 400 public and charter schools were closed.

In central California, rescuers were searching for a five-year-old boy who was swept away from his car by fast-rising floodwaters.

Extreme weather has plagued many parts of the United States this past autumn and winter: deep freezes, hurricane-like blizzards, tornadoes, drastic temperature swings. But nowhere has been as savaged by the changing climate these past weeks as California.

“It’s kind of a marathon,” said Paul Horvat, the emergency services manager for Santa Cruz. “We’re trying to pace ourselves because we know this can go on and on and on for a while.”

He added: “I’ve never really seen this many rainstorms, big ones, one after another, in my career.”

Over the past two days, more 30cm of rain has been recorded across portions of coastal California. And an additional 17cm of rain could fall in many parts of the state over the next several days, the National Weather Service said, as yet another “enormous cyclone” that is forming off the coast slams areas of Northern California and the Pacific North-west on Wednesday.

All told, experts say, the cost of the damage done by the storms could top US$1 billion (S$1.33 billion).

San Francisco was put under a flash flood warning as the Bay Area – already saturated with water – gets pummelled by a downpour and even hail.

San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management warned of a “dangerous and life-threatening situation” and told residents not to attempt to travel. Sheets of rain poured down in the city before easing shortly after 1pm local time.

The town of Montecito, home to Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, was pounded by several centimetres of rain – threatening dangerous mudslides on hills already sodden by weeks of downpours.

The authorities in the town 90 minutes from Los Angeles on Monday ordered everyone out.

Montecito, whose multi-million dollar properties are surrounded by breathtaking California countryside, is particularly vulnerable to mudslides because it sits at the foot of a mountain range that was ravaged by fire five years ago.


Read More:

US Kentucky flood, death toll reaches to 25

Floods in US Kentucky kill at least 8, more deaths expected

San Francisco declares emergency over monkeypox spread