Fifteen people have been declared dead so far in the torrential downpours that hit all of California from Los Angeles to the Oregon border. One five-year-old boy is still missing after being swept away in flood waters in San Miguel. Police announced that the search for the boy had to be paused because the weather was too unpredictable for them to continue without endangering the lives of the first responders.
The crisis began last week as a series of unrelenting rain systems rocked the west coast, pouring the equivalence of one month of rain in just mere hours.
Dr. Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute, explained, "Instead of thinking we can control all floods, we have to learn to live with them."
Writing for the Washington Post on Tuesday, Dr. Gleick explained that while the floods are bad, they've certainly been far worse in the past and that the state should brace for worse in the future. He has been posting updates of the reservoirs in the state that could help ease the decade of drought the state has faced.
"Sierra snowpack at 200% of normal," he also said Monday night. "Santa Barbara got a third of average ANNUAL rain in 20 hrs. 14 known flood deaths already. Montecito evacuated, most of LA Co. under flash flood warning. New atmospheric river(s) coming ashore tonight & into next week plus."
Rough seas on the Santa Cruz coast were captured by a group of men showing bridges being washed out, waves washing over a pier and destroying the bridge out to it.
\u201cMassive flooding and destruction in Santa Cruz, California today.\n\ud83c\udf0a \ud83c\udf0a \n#SantaCruz \n#SantaCruzFlood\n#floods2023\n#floods\u201d— Lynn Schore (@Lynn Schore) 1673095364
A Fresno video shows a waterfall barreling down a mountain into what was a small river below that now looks more like a series of fire hydrants have opened than a small river.
\u201cFlooding east of Fresno, California. #flooding #naturaldisaster #water #flood #California\u201d— Trevor (@Trevor) 1673319512
A Ventura County woman posted a video of what she said was a river bead that was dry just two days ago. Now it looks to be ten feet from the bottom of the highway bridge.
\u201c2 days ago this was a dry river bed\u2026 #floods #California #Californiastorm #CaliforniaFloods\u201d— DirectorNeilJohnson (@DirectorNeilJohnson) 1673316976
On Monday, Ellen DeGeneres posted a video of the raging flood waters in a creek behind her home in Montecito, California, which she said last experienced intense fires and mudslides about five years ago.
"Probably about nine feet up," she said.
\u201cBREAKING: Ellen DeGeneres shares an intense clip of raging flood waters near her home in Montecito, California, which is under mandatory evacuation following the recent storm system in the area.\n\n#southerncalifornia #flooding\u201d— Los Angeles Magazine (@Los Angeles Magazine) 1673320343
\u201cWater gushes through Montecito, Calif., on Monday, January 9, the five-year anniversary of a deadly mudslide in the region that claimed 23 lives, after heavy floods hit the area. \n\nCredit: @DistrictCraig\u201d— WeatherBug (@WeatherBug) 1673368232
Three days ago the streets of San Francisco were already flooded. It's the second time in a week after parking lots were flooded on Jan. 4. By Jan. 10, over 92,000 San Franciscans were without power, mostly in the south Bay Area.
\u201cMeanwhile in San Francisco. \ud83d\ude40\n\n#SanFrancisco #CaliforniaFlood\u201d— Jeffrey \u24cb (@Jeffrey \u24cb) 1673132581
\u201cPoles are shifting. #floods #SanFrancisco #ClimateEmergency #Disaster #WorldNews #WakeUpAmerica #dead\u201d— \u2728bunny.eth\ud83e\ude90 (@\u2728bunny.eth\ud83e\ude90) 1672852480
Low-lying areas of Sacramento county had flood waters about halfway up the doors of a car.
\u201c\u26a0\ufe0f BREAKING: CALIFORNIA ISSUES A FLOOD WARNING FOR THE ENTIRE BAY AREA FROM 4PM TODAY-TUESDAY \n\nFollow @YayAreaNews For Bay Area / Northern California Storm Updates In Real Time \ud83d\udd14\n\n#BayArea #SanFrancisco #AtmosphericRiver #CAwx\u201d— BAY AREA STATE OF MIND (@BAY AREA STATE OF MIND) 1673128105
Gilroy, California, known for its summer garlic festival, showed flood waters about a foot shy of swallowing one pick-up truck.
\u201cAtmospheric river: Flood waters inundate Gilroy neighborhoods - CBS San Francisco - CBS News #News https://t.co/1IJPX5qtzD \n#News #BreakingNews\u201d— Global News Report (@Global News Report) 1673359132
Sacramento's experience was less about flooding and more about the high winds that toppled massive trees that landed on homes and cars.
\u201cSights that are becoming all too common in Sacramento. The damage done on Florin Perkins Road in recent days is still there. Snapped power pole, knocked over tree, cables strewn across the ground.\u201d— Claudette Stefanian (@Claudette Stefanian) 1673297936
\u201cCrowd gathers in Midtown Sacramento to assess the damage after the storm where two large English Elms crashed into historic homes on 27th\u201d— Luke Cleary (@Luke Cleary) 1673199029
\u201c23rd and P St. in midtown Sacramento. I\u2019m having a hard time finding the words to describe the destruction in Sacramento following last night\u2019s storm.\u201d— Sam Stanton is also on Mastadon and Post (@Sam Stanton is also on Mastadon and Post) 1673198992
As of two days ago, the Sacramento River was almost up to the road on Tower Bridge, ABC10 reported. Areal photos from the following day show it hasn't taken out the bridge just yet.
\u201cThe Sacramento River is swelling right now \u2014 it\u2019s almost up to the road on Tower Bridge. The river is expected to keep rising through mid-week. @ABC10 #CAwx\u201d— Jaden Torres ABC10 (@Jaden Torres ABC10) 1673215117
\u201cIncredible aerial photos of the Sacramento River and the Tower Bridge following this week's winter storms. \ud83c\udf27\ufe0f\n\n\ud83d\udcf7: Alfred Melbourne on Facebook (Profile: https://t.co/MXjYNb4bbi)\u201d— Anthony Volkar (@Anthony Volkar) 1673329164
With downpours come mudslides and sinkholes, both of which are happening up and down the state.
\u201cHwy 17 S bound at Glenwood Drive closed due to a mudslide. No ETA on reopening. @kron4news\u201d— Chuck Clifford (@Chuck Clifford) 1673290245
\u201cTravel alert: A mudslide on highway 17 has closed all southbound lanes at Glenwood Dr. According to CHP, there is no estimated time for reopening.\u201d— KTVU (@KTVU) 1673297517
\u201c*BREAKING* Mud and tree slide shuts down SB 17 JSO of Glenwood Drive. Geologists called out to check stability for removal. CHP: Reopening this evening at the earliest. Looking into establishing 2-way traffic on NB 17.\u201d— Bob Redell (@Bob Redell) 1673291500
\u201cIncredible footage! A @PGE4Me lineman captures the moment a pine tree in Santa Cruz Mountains gives way due to a mudslide along HWY 9 today. Lineman was not hurt, but issues like these are making it unsafe for crews to work in some locations. More info: https://t.co/zC3ax4QudN\u201d— Mayra Tostado (@Mayra Tostado) 1673312544
\u201cCalifornia Storm Live Updates: Evacuations Ordered as Mudslide and Flood Risks Grow https://t.co/Mf9Zt8iUNa\u201d— Patricia Farrell, Ph.D. (@Patricia Farrell, Ph.D.) 1673373359
Los Angeles Fire Department officers were forced to rescue people caught in a sinkhole in Chatsworth.
\u201cLAFD extricating one of two patients from a 15ft sink hole in Chatsworth. Two vehicles became trapped as the roadway crumbled. #sinkhole\u201d— Sal (@Sal) 1673325828
\u201c#Chatsworth; Two cars into a sinkhole with one on top of the other. @LAFD rescued two people trapped.\u201d— \ud83c\udd54\ud83c\udd61\ud83c\udd58\ud83c\udd5a \ud83c\udd62\ud83c\udd52\ud83c\udd5e\ud83c\udd63\ud83c\udd63 (@\ud83c\udd54\ud83c\udd61\ud83c\udd58\ud83c\udd5a \ud83c\udd62\ud83c\udd52\ud83c\udd5e\ud83c\udd63\ud83c\udd63) 1673330033
\u201cThe rains around the LA have resulted in extremely dangerous conditions. A mother and child drive into this huge sinkhole. Then a pickup truck fell on top of them. Thankfully all are okay.\u201d— Shaun Robinson (@Shaun Robinson) 1673367669
\u201cSINKHOLE SWALLOWS CARS: A road in Chatsworth collapsed in heavy rains, trapping two cars. Firefighters rescued two people while two others were able to escape. MORE: https://t.co/LK8opfnn7M\u201d— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOX 11 Los Angeles) 1673333144
\u201cTwo cars remain in the bottom of a large #sinkhole on Iverson road in #Chatswoth, CA Tuesday. Two women were rescued from their car when it went into the hole Monday evening. #storm\u201d— David Crane (@David Crane) 1673364959
It is slightly smaller than that the one at the Oakland Zoo, which took out an entire road over New Year's.
\u201cThe #Oaklandzoo is closed until at least the 17th of January due to a huge sink hole that has washed out the main entrance and exit at Golf Links Road in #Oakland. #zoo #sinkhole #rain\u201d— BrianKPIX (@BrianKPIX) 1672690501
\u201cA view of the sinkhole & damage at the Golf Links entrance to the Oakland Zoo following the collapse of a culvert that connects a creek through the property. The zoo says this culvert was overburdened by the amount of rainfall the past few days @nbcbayarea #cawx\u201d— Alyssa Goard (@Alyssa Goard) 1672642814
See the other videos and photos below:
\u201cSinkhole.\u201d— \ud83c\udf37LIZZIE\ud83c\udf37 (re/formed) (@\ud83c\udf37LIZZIE\ud83c\udf37 (re/formed)) 1672945965
\u201cA broken water main caused a sinkhole that partially swallowed up a parked vehicle in a Daly City neighborhood overnight. https://t.co/u9Ax2auVHu\u201d— NBC Bay Area (@NBC Bay Area) 1672757824
\u201cBREAKING: A water main break caused a parked SUV to fall INTO A SINKHOLE near Abbot St and Castle St in Daly City around 2am this morning. Crews are on scene now working to clean this up. @abc7newsbayarea\u201d— Lena Howland (@Lena Howland) 1672753106
\u201cA tree splits a home in half in Castro Valley after yesterday\u2019s storm.\n\nOne person has been taken to the hospital but now two adults and four children have been displaced.\n\nThe mess has yet to be cleaned up. I\u2019ve reported the damages to @PGE4Me. About 60 customers w/o power.\u201d— Camila Barco (@Camila Barco) 1673198164
\u201cWe have a LOG JAM in Santa Cruz. Water levels of the San Lorenzo River rose above moderate flood stage this morning (23.9 feet!), according to USGS water data. \n#AtmosphericRiver \n@kron4news\u201d— Amy Larson (@Amy Larson) 1673291512