More rain, snow forecast as U.S. storm
brings floods to California
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[January 09, 2017]
(Reuters) - Forecasters expect
another half foot of rain to soak central and northern California and
the Sierra Nevada mountains through early Tuesday, coming on the heels
of powerful storms that walloped the state and other parts of the U.S.
west on Sunday.
The drenching rains and blowing snow flooded rivers and shut down roads
from mudslides in a state that has struggled with drought for years.
From 3 to 8 inches (7.6 to 20 cm) of rain is forecast in the region
while several feet (1-2 metres) of snow are likely for higher
elevations, said meteorologist Andrew Orrison at the National Weather
Service's Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.
"We're going to see heavy rain going into (Monday) evening and early
morning," he said.
Heavy snow is expected in Nevada and the northern Rocky Mountains could
get several feet of snow over the next day or two.
The weather service said almost 40 rivers or creeks in Northern
California and western Nevada were flooded or threatened to top their
banks. But an emergency agency spokesman said there had been no reports
of fatalities or serious damage.
Authorities said a section of Interstate 80 near Truckee, southwest of
Reno, Nevada, was closed by a mudslide.
The upper Napa River north of San Francisco was expected to cause
"extreme damage to all towns along the reach," the California emergency
agency said in a statement. Anticipated flooding brought voluntary
evacuations in neighboring Sonoma County.
Residents of Cambria, near the famous Hearst Castle along California's
central coast, were advised to move to higher ground due a flash flood
Several other California highways were closed from landslides or high
water. In Washington state, high winds, ice and heavy snow shut roads
and created hazardous driving conditions.
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A partially submerged home and vehicles are seen during a winter
storm in Petaluma, California, January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Iridium Communications said Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket company had
delayed Monday's launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 of its
satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles. The
launch was now set for Saturday.
The storm is drawing strength from the interaction between an
"atmospheric river," a plume of water vapor flowing from the tropics
toward the West Coast, and a low-pressure area near Oregon, the
National Weather Service said.
After years of drought, the storm is the latest in a strong wet
season for California that began in the autumn. Another front is
expected on Tuesday.
In an encouraging sign, the U.S. Forest Service said the rain had
restored moisture levels in Southern California vegetation to a
seasonal normal for the first time in five years.
The eastern United States experienced low temperatures on Sunday,
the day after a massive storm dumped snow from Georgia to
(Editing by Chris Michaud)
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