SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) – A late-season strong Pacific storm that brought damaging winds and more rain and snow to saturated California was blamed for two deaths, and meteorologists said Wednesday more flooding could be possible in parts of the state .
Tuesday’s storm focused most of its energy on the central and southern parts of the state, bringing threats of heavy runoff and snow to the mountains. In the north, intense hail was reported in Sacramento, the state capital.
Locally heavy rain and melting snow could cause flooding Wednesday in southern California and central Arizona, the National Weather Service warned. Some residents of north central Arizona were told on Tuesday to prepare to evacuate due to rising water levels in rivers and reservoirs.
Trees and power lines have been reported downed in the San Francisco Bay Area. An Amtrak commuter train carrying 55 passengers struck a downed tree and derailed near the East Bay village of Porta Costa. The train was left standing and no one was injured, Amtrak and firefighters said.
In the Bay Area community of Portola Valley, a man driving a sewer truck died when a tree fell on the vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said. And in the community of Rossmoor, a driver was injured and a passenger died after a large tree fell on a car, the Contra Costa County Fire District said.
In the Monterey Bay region, a severe windstorm located over the ocean hit Santa Cruz County with wind gusts up to 80 mph (129 km/h) by noon. Along the coast of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, ocean foam blew across the roads like great snowflakes.
Wind gusts reached 75 mph in Santa Cruz’s mountain communities, including Boulder Creek.
Resident Frank Kuhr waited for hours Tuesday afternoon at a downtown supermarket for crews to remove large redwoods that were blocking a highway. “Trees have fallen everywhere,” Kuhr said. “The wind was incredible. Branches flew through the air and people could hear trees falling and breaking.
“This is a doozy,” Kuhr said.
About 133,000 customers were left without power early Wednesday across the state, according to PowerOutage.us.
The National Weather Service said Tuesday’s storm, which arrived on the first full day of spring after the state’s extraordinary winter, was a Pacific low pressure system that had been interacting with California’s atmospheric 12th River since late December. .
The unexpected siege of California’s humid climate after years of drought also included February blizzards fueled by arctic air.
The storms triggered flooding and loaded mountains with so much snow that roofs were shattered and crews struggled to keep highways avalanche-free.
The Mammoth Mountain resort in the eastern Sierra Nevada has announced it will remain open for skiing and snowboarding through at least the end of July.
With a seasonal snowfall of 634 inches (16.1 meters) at the main lodge, it was likely just one storm away from breaking the all-time record of 668 inches (16.9 meters) set in the 2010-2011 season.