Thousands of California residents are being forced to evacuate their homes as torrential rains continue to pummel the state. Certain areas have recorded more than 25 inches of rainfall over the past two weeks. According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, a total of 17 people have already died as a result of the storms.
“We’ve had less people die in the last two years of major wildfires in California than have died since New Year’s Day related to this weather,” Newsom said. “These conditions are serious and they’re deadly.”
More than 200,000 businesses and houses were also without electricity due to the storms, which brought lightning and hail, according to CNBC. Some communities also experienced landslides, and ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada have seen more than five feet of snowfall.
A person died on Monday at Avila Beach, about 180 miles north of Los Angeles, when water overtook a car in the area, according to an official with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services.
“We could see more flooding concerns throughout much of the state,” National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Schoening said in a statement. “So keep an eye on the radar, keep an eye on anything from your local media, from your local emergency management and from your local National Weather Service.”
Many are wondering if the extreme precipitation will help offset the state’s drought conditions. However, Rick Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained that while the heavy rains may “help to relieve some of the localized aspects of drought,” it “will not resolve the long-term” problem.