Sinkholes engulf cars as powerful storms hit California – flooding engulfs town and kills at least 17 people.
Two motorists had to be rescued after they fell into a sinkhole on a Los Angeles street, leaving them trapped in their car.
Since December 26, a barrage of storms has wreaked havoc across US states – with flood warnings for millions and more than 200,000 homes and businesses without power.
More rain is expected in northern California later today, with longer storms expected from Friday through Tuesday.
In other developments, a five-year-old boy who was swept away by rising water has been named Kyle Roan.
A seven-hour search for the child was called off yesterday after rescuers found only his shoes.
Kyle’s mother was driving a truck that ran aground in floodwater near Paso Robles, a small city on California’s central coast interior.
Bystanders were able to pull the mother out of the truck, but Kyle was swept out of the vehicle and carried downstream, likely falling into the river, officials said. There was no evacuation order for the area at the time.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipola said the area “remains very dangerous” with fast-moving streams.
Lightning knocked down a tree on a road in the San Joaquin Valley on Tuesday, causing a deadly chain of events that killed two people.
“Nature is not happy with us”
Rockfall and mudslides closed roads and thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes.
But the evacuation order in the town of Montecito, home to celebrities such as Harry and Meghan and Oprah Winfrey, has now been lifted, with a population of 10,000.
Ellen DeGeneres posted a video on Instagram on Monday next to a rushing river near her home.
She said: “It’s crazy. We’re getting rain like never before. This creek near our house has never flowed. [and it’s] About 9 feet tall.
“It could go up another 2 feet. We have horses ready to evacuate. We need to be nice to Mother Nature because Mother Nature is not happy with us.”
The evacuation order came on the fifth anniversary of the 2018 mudslide that killed 23 people and destroyed more than 100 homes.
“fasten my boots and don’t give up”
The windy weather has put a large number of homeless people in California at risk. At least one homeless person has died and a dozen people have been rescued from a camp on the Ventura River.
Theo Harris, who has lived on the streets of San Francisco since his release from prison in 2016, fortified his home with tarpaulins and cable ties and took in his girlfriend after her tent flooded.
“The wind has been pretty fierce, but you have to dress well and make sure you stay dry,” Mr Harris said.
“Rain is a part of life. It’s going to be sunny. It’s going to rain. I’m just going to lace up my boots and not give up.”