President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in California after severe winter weather hit the state.
Thunderstorms, snowfall and strong winds hit California on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of an “endless march of atmospheric rivers” – storms made of long columns of water extending into the Pacific Ocean.
Governor Gavin Newsom said 12 people have died from severe weather over the past 10 days.
More than 120,000 California homes were without power early Monday, according to PowerOutage.us.
Last week’s storms caused flash floods, rockslides and downed trees, disrupting road traffic.
The White House said Mr. Biden’s announcement authorized FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts and mobilize emergency resources.
Recent storms have increased the likelihood of further flooding and mudslides in areas already saturated with days of rainfall.
Governor Newsom warned that this week’s storms could be more dangerous and urged people to stay home.
“Be cautious over the course of next week, especially the next day or two or so,” he said.
“Widespread power outages, downed trees and poor driving conditions are likely,” the Weather Service’s Sacramento office said.
About 13,000 residents in flood-prone Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, have been warned to evacuate as the Russian River is expected to flood in the coming days.
Sacramento County has ordered the evacuation of people living around Wilton, a town of about 6,000 people, warning of imminent flooding.
“Residents must leave before roads become impassable,” the county said.
“Given the severity of this storm, Caltrans is asking all drivers to limit non-essential travel until the peak of the storm has passed,” Caltrans said.