California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Sunday amid flooding in parts of Southern California. He made this declaration specifically regarding eight California counties that are expected to be further impacted by the winter storm and flood: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, San Diego, San Luis, Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
“California: this is a serious storm with dangerous and potentially life-threatening impacts. Please pay attention to any emergency orders or alerts from local officials. California is ready with a record number of emergency assets on the ground to respond to the impacts of this storm,” Governor Newsom said.
According to BBC News, the storm was caused by an “atmospheric river” effect that is a result of “airborne currents of dense moisture.” Atmospheric rivers occur when water evaporates into the air only to be carried out by the wind, creating long currents in the air as rivers would on land. California was first hit by this phenomenon last week.
More than half a million Californians are without power as the storm caused a major blackout Monday morning. Several counties were evacuated; including Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and Santa Barbara. Hefty rain and winds are devastating areas from Santa Barbara to L.A., heavy snow and thunderstorms were also reportedly predicted and expected. A reported 37 million people (94 percent of California’s population) are at risk of floods, and up to 2 or more additional inches of rainfall is expected, as per The Sacramento Bee.