Newsom declares state of emergency due to ‘atmospheric rivers’ in California

At least one child has died, entire towns have been ordered to evacuate due to the risk of flooding, and power outages have occurred.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency Wednesday ahead of the arrival of a massive winter storm. So far, one child has lost his life, while evacuations are taking place due to the risk of flooding from rising rivers and hundreds are suffering from power outages.

The state faces the arrival of heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds, caused by an "atmospheric river" that is provoking floods, landslides and power outages. Thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes in the face of rising rivers, which are threatening to break even the oldest dykes of the Golden State. A child has lost his life in Sonoma County when he was crushed by a tree blown down by high winds.

Exacerbating damage from previous storms

State officials have warned that this storm could exacerbate damage already caused by previous storms. The ground remains saturated with moisture, increasing the likelihood of flooding, rapid runoff and landslides, reported The New York Times. Strong winds could also knock down trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages, the National Weather Service (NWS) added.

The California Fire Department has issued a series of recommendations to citizens in view of the weather forecast for the next few days: "Stay alert if living near streams and creeks, follow evacuation orders, and be especially cautious driving at night."

"This is the first storm of at least three or four," Monterey's NWS meteorologist Brayden Murdock. said to Politico. "The forecast looks quite unstable through the week and into the weekend, even next week."