California Storms: Impacts on the state and recovery

The Concordia Courier

Concordia Irvine

By Morgan McGrath | 1/20/2023

While many Concordia students went back home over Christmas break, those who remained in Irvine were battered with some of the most rainy weeks that the state has seen in over a decade.


California has attempted to grapple with minimal rainfall for over a decade, with the state struggling with a severe drought from 2012 to 2016, and, following a brief period of relief, another drought from 2019 to 2022.

 

However, the state rang in the new year by bringing on severe storms, which battered the west coast of the region, as well as parts of the Central Valley.


The threats reached such severity that Governor Gavin Newsom petitioned President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency in order to provide additional relief to the state.


“We are in the middle of a deadly barrage of winter storms – and California is using every resource at its disposal to protect lives and limit damage,” Newsom said in a statement. “We are taking the threat from these storms seriously, and want to make sure that Californians stay vigilant as more storms head our way.”


In some areas, Californians saw rainfall that equated to over 10 inches of rain, and in the higher regions, in the Sierra Nevada mountains, some reports said that up to 8.5 feet of snow could be observed. 


The rain, while needed, brought with it unwelcome side effects, such as mudslides, flooding and power outages. At one point, 90% of the state was under a flood watch warning, and in some places, winds as fast as 132 miles per hour were recorded. 


“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” the National Weather System said in a forecast for Northern California near the beginning of the storm system.


“The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down [potentially full groves], widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life,” the warning continued. 


“Threat to life is likely during this storm,” it added.


While the threat posed by the storms has largely passed, as the last of the “atmospheric rivers” passed over the holiday weekend honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Californians across the state now look to recovery, prompting the president to send additional aid, declaring a state of emergency on Jan. 15.


Biden ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the storms, the White House said in a statement.

 

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