BOMB CYCLONE storm brings torrential rains and hurricane-level winds to California; leaves 180,000 without power
01/09/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

Hundreds of thousands of Californians are without power as a so-called "bomb cyclone" storm batters the West Coast, leaving several dead and a trail of wreckage across the region.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Flood Watch in many areas of the state, which lasted until 4 p.m. on Thursday. A High Wind Warning was also issued as trees fell and businesses collapsed throughout the Bay Area, which was hit exceptionally hard by the storm.

More wind and rain are forecast for Northern California over the weekend and into next week, which will add insult to injury on top of already catastrophic conditions in some of the worst hit areas, (Related: Does this mean California is no longer in a drought?)

Cities and towns located alongside rivers and streams face the worst flooding as water levels rise. Strong waves in coastal areas also threaten homes and businesses as well as piers, some of which were damaged during the worst of the storm.

"Strong waves are crashing on West Cliff Dr., and West Cliff Dr. will be closed from Pelton to Almar," announced city officials in Santa Cruz, where the local wharf was evacuated.

"These intense waves are pushing large rocks onto the road as well. Please be careful near any bodies of water as we still have high wind advisories, and there could be dangerous conditions."

Piers in Capitola and Seacliff were reportedly damaged by the wind and waves, and some coastal communities in the Carmel area had to be evacuated because of "extreme threat to life or property."

Official says bomb cyclone could be "most challenging and impactful series of storms" in five years

A child reportedly died after a large redwood tree toppled over and fell onto a home. In another similar instance, a large tree fell on a sedan in San Francisco, the passengers of which were rescued without critical injury.


Also in San Francisco, the overhang at a local Valero gas station crashed down from heavy winds, knocking over gas pumps and creating a hazard. At their peak, wind speeds in some areas reached 130mph, which is Hurricane-level force.

Out at sea, sensors captured massive 45-foot waves tumbling during the height of the storm. Local beaches saw the effects of this as large waves crashed on the sand and eroded the normal topography.

Big Sur, a popular coastal destination, expects to see upwards of five inches of rain through Sunday while Los Angeles, which is generally dry, could see as much as three inches of rain, according to The Weather Channel.

"We anticipate that this may be one of the most challenging and impactful series of storms to touch down in California in the last five years," announced Nancy Ward, the new director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

After recently being hit by numerous large wildfires, Santa Barbara County ordered evacuations for areas near the burned-out spots as these tend to flood and unleash large debris flows.

Hundreds of people, estimated Susan Klein-Rothschild, a spokesperson for the county's emergency operations center, were included in that evacuation order, including some residents of Montecito where Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle all live.

"What we're talking about here is a lot of water coming off the top of the hills, coming down into the creeks and streams and as it comes down, it gains momentum and that's what the initial danger is," Montecito Fire Department Chief Kevin Taylor said.

Numerous towns in Santa Cruz County also had to be evacuated due to similar wildfire burnout issues as well as fast-moving water threats along the San Lorenzo River.

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