Sustainability Climate Change

90 percent of California under flood watches

Heavy rainstorms continue to drench the Golden State this week blocking roads, downing trees and knocking out power.
Anthony Tablit, 5, is is soaked as waves crash into a seawall in Pacifica, Calif., Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. California weather calmed Friday but the lull was expected to be brief as more Pacific storms lined up to blast into the state, where successive powerful weather systems have knocked out power to thousands, battered the coastline, flooded streets, toppled trees and caused at least six deaths. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Story at a glance

  • Californians are again being pummeled by heavy rainstorms this week.  

  • On Monday, the National Weather Service issued flood watches for 34 million Californians, or 90 percent of the state’s total population.

  • California has been hit by almost nonstop rainstorms since late December.  

Most of California is under flood watches after the latest wave of heavy rainstorms has caused deluged roads and triggered mudslides.  

The National Weather Service issued flood watches on Monday for about 34 million Californians, who make up around 90 percent of the Golden State’s total population.  

California has experienced an almost nonstop barrage of heavy rainstorms since the beginning of January with more expected to hit the state later this week.  

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As a result, almost all of California has received between 400 and 600 percent above-average rainfall totals over the past few weeks, according to the NWS.  

Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of southern California like Santa Barbara County including all of Montecito due to the risk posed by flash floods and strong wind gusts.  

Montecito’s evacuation order comes on the fifth anniversary of a deadly mudslide that killed 23 people.  

The Nordhoff Ridge in southern California has been swamped in more than 14 inches of water over the last 24 hours while the San Marcos Pass has been drenched in more than 12 inches of rainfall.  

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said that as of Monday the storms have killed at least 14 people across the state and hundreds of thousands have been left without power.  

More than 197,000 customers Wednesday did not have power across California, according to, an online tracker for blackouts throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.  

“Our message to Californians is simple: be hyper-vigilant,” said Newsom in a statement. “There are still several days of severe winter weather ahead and we need all Californians to be alert and heed the advice of emergency officials.”  

After a short respite on Tuesday, another storm is predicted to hit the Golden State on Wednesday, this time mostly hitting northern California and Washington state.  

By Wednesday, the storms will have drenched most of California with 3-7 inches of water, according to the NWS.  

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