Five-year-old Kyle Doan told his mother to calm down before she was swept away by a brutal winter storm that swept through central California.
“Don’t worry mom, don’t panic.” he said, his family told the Associated Press.
While Kyle and his mother, Lindsy Doan, were on their way to school, surging floodwaters drowned their car.
Nearby residents of San Miguel heard Lindsy’s screams and came to her rescue, but Kyle was pulled by the water.
“Yesterday I got to a point where I thought my tears were over,” Lindsy Doan said.
“I don’t know what to expect anymore. So, I tried to do a Google search: How long should a child not eat? How long can he stay in wet clothes? We worry because I’m not sure if they’ll find him.”
Authorities have been searching for Kyle since Monday, and more than 100 National Guard officers were joined by the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s office and underwater search and rescue teams.
Rescuers comb through piles of driftwood and debris to remove the 4-foot, 52 lb (23 kg), hazel-eyed and blonde-haired boy. All they’ve found so far is one of his blue-gray Nike tennis shoes.
According to the governor’s statement, at least 18 people lost their lives in the storms that have ravaged the state for weeks.
California witnessed almost two weeks of strong winds, flooding, power outages, and forced evacuations. Most of the land across the state was soaked, thousands of trees felled and roads were unusable by mudslides and snow.
Since Wednesday, extreme weather has taken a short break across much of the state, giving residents a moment’s relief as they prepare for the expected return of rain.
A new atmospheric river cruise is expected to visit the Golden State on Friday. These severely damaging weather events occur when water evaporates and is carried by the wind, creating long streams in the sky like rivers flowing on land.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said on Thursday that the storm will continue through the weekend.
Authorities in central California urged residents not to drop their guards in the middle of this weather holiday.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office issued new evacuation orders Wednesday, with Sheriff Tina Nieto warning that the Monterey Peninsula “could become an island” with impending storms.