Flood warning for millions in northern California

Northern California prepares for another deadly attack of rain and winds as the state-plaguing extreme weather conditions head north.

At least 17 people lost their lives in the storms that started at the end of December and spread to the new year.

Wind and rain dam flooded neighborhoods, knocked down trees and caused rock slides.

California Governor Gavin Newsom told the BBC he had never seen a storm of this scale before.

More than 4.5 million Californians were under flood surveillance as early as Wednesday, and thousands are still displaced.

The storms came during decades of drought in the state and surrounding region.

Mr Newsom said Californians need to get used to “this weather wave”, or extreme dry to extreme precipitation, as they will become more common as a result of climate change.

“We’re likely to see more of this in the future,” he said.

The historic rain sequence combined with weather events such as atmospheric rivers and bomb cyclones packed repetitive punches.

17-year-old Audrey Baxter lives in Felton Grove, near Santa Cruz, a storm-hit area on California’s central coast.

His family left when the flood waters began to reach their home. He returned to find that many items had been destroyed. Furniture, rugs and other household items were stacked next to their home to be taken to the landfill.

“It’s purely personal stuff like stuffed animals from my youth, school projects I did in primary school. Torn photos,” he told the BBC.

Now his house is surrounded by a pile of water and mud. They are trying to remove the mud from their house but he is worried that the flood water will come back.

“The worst thing is that when it floods very often the river doesn’t have enough time to flow out. So every time it overflows, it gets higher,” he said.

With the threat of flooding through Friday, this new round of storms is expected to hit the state’s north coast with heavy downpours and high winds, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

Some Californians should soon see some relief after the near-constant onslaught of the past two weeks.

After the rain eased in southern California Tuesday evening, electricity was restored for many residents.

About 50,000 residents, about one-fifth of Tuesday’s number, are still in the dark. And in Santa Barbara County, home to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, all evacuation and shelter-in-place orders have been revoked.

Later this week, storms are expected to shift further north, pushing most of the precipitation into neighboring Oregon and Washington states.

But that pause will be short-lived for California: rain will return for another soak from widespread precipitation this weekend.

The NWS said this round will affect a wider area of ​​California with “threats of even more heavy rainfall.” More flooding is expected in the already wet state.

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