California levee breaks under the onslaught of a new storm
Eva Deschamps / March 12, 2023
The new storm that hit California caused impressive flooding, including the failure of a levee on the Pajaro River on Saturday, after killing two people and forcing thousands to evacuate.
We hoped to avoid it, but the worst case scenario happened with the Pajaro River overflowing and the levee breaking around midnight" (on Friday night), tweeted Luis Alejo, an official of Monterey County, located on the California coast, on Saturday.
The Twitter account of the California National Guard showed images of rescues of residents in their cars, trapped by the impressive floods.
At least one road was also literally washed away Friday in a small community in Santa Cruz County, just north of Monterey County.
On Friday, the director of emergency services for the governor of California, Nancy Ward, had announced that the storm had "unfortunately (...) two deaths ».
These floods were caused by an umpteenth storm which broke on California, already victim of a particularly rainy winter these last weeks.
Up to 23 centimetres of precipitation was expected in places. This rain, coming from a rather warm low-pressure system, was likely to melt some of the exceptional snow cover accumulated over the past three months. This would cause an impossible runoff for the rivers and streams of this western state.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday approved a declaration of a state of emergency in California to facilitate federal assistance.
Numerous evacuation orders were issued, particularly in Northern California, which was also affected.
In January, a series of storms had caused multiple floods, landslides and falling trees, resulting in the death of 20 people.