California Flooding


Riley Thompson, Digital Media Editor

As of January 10th, California is currently being dismantled by severe thunderstorms. After going through a major drought in 2021 where all 58 counties were put under an emergency drought proclamation, California is starting off 2023 with one of the most major rainstorms that has ever been recorded in the month of January. Records are currently being broken in multiple locations such as Sante Barbara, where they had their rainiest day ever recorded in January with 4.22 inches of rain. The rain storms have also broken records in San Louis Obispo, Santa Maria, and Bishop. With the rain, the rivers have also risen in record breaking numbers such as the Ventura River rising 17 feet in just 12 hours yesterday. The storm has also forced the release of sewage in Santa Barbara. Reports have shown over 5,000 gallons of sewage have been released to Mission Creek, near Vernon road. The health department has warned the community not to contact the water near the release as it could be extremely harmful and lead to many diseases. 

It is reported that the rainstorms are being caused by atmospheric rivers. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow regions in the sky that carry moisture over thousands of miles; they can be compared to massive water hoses in the sky. These atmospheric rivers that run over the west coast are crucial, as they provide most of the snow and rain that the west coast gets. Before just recently, forecasters would rely on satellites and forecast models to track the atmospheric rivers; however, scientists have invented dropsondes, which can relay pinpointed live weather information. 

Going into Tuesday, flood watches still remain for over 34 million people. Another round of moisture is expected to impact the Bay and Northern areas of California, and is due to spread to the rest of California by this afternoon. More flash flood and evacuation warnings are going to roll out as the saturated soil becomes a problem for many people. Many large cities like Los Angeles, San Jose, Long Beach, and Las Vegas are all in threat of severe storms today. Unfortunately, 14 people have been reported dead across California due to the floods and more are likely to come as the storms keep beating.