- In California, power lines tumbled and more than 100,000 homes and businesses were in the dark early Monday.
- Long stretches of I-80 and other highways were shut down by flooding and mud flows.
- Downtown Sacramento also set a 24-hour record with over 5 inches of rain.
- Meanwhile, the East Coast was bracing for the storms to arrive.
A swath of California was battling flooding and mudslides Monday as the latest in a series of angry storms pounded much of the state with high winds and heavy rains.
Almost 3,000 miles away, the East Coast was bracing for the storms to arrive. AccuWeather meteorologist Joseph Bauer warned that heavy rains and winds could choke New York City’s morning commute, with 3 to 5 inches of rain possible Tuesday and Wednesday. The storms now slamming California could bring more foul weather later in the week.
“The same massive storm that is currently bringing heavy rain, snow and strong winds to the Western states is expected to slowly move eastward across the country,” AccuWeather Senior meteorologist Brett Anderson explained.
Meteorologists say “bomb cyclone” conditions — a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure — drove a long, wide plume of precipitation onto the West Coast. This atmospheric river brought historic rains to some areas.
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river blast West Coast: 2 dead in Seattle area, hundreds of thousands without power
In California, power lines tumbled and more than 100,000 homes and businesses were in the dark early Monday. Another 50,000 were affected across Washington state, where two people were killed when a tree fell on a vehicle near Seattle.
Long stretches of I-80 and other highways were shut down by flooding and mud flows. Several locations set 24-hour rainfall records, including more than 10 inches in Blue Canyon north of Sacramento, the National Weather Service said.
Downtown Sacramento also set a 24-hour record with over 5 inches of rain, and a shelter was set up at city hall.
“City hall also belongs to the people who are having the hardest of hard times,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we are opening up the people’s building to bring people indoors.”
More than 100 miles to the south and closer to the Bay area, I-880 between Newark and Fremont was was closed overnight after half a dozen cars were overwhelmed by water. Videos from Martinez showed people walking around neighborhoods in water up to their knees.
Parts of San Francisco were swamped, and Mayor London Breed urged residents to call 311 to get help for people in need of shelter and 911 for medical emergencies.
“Help your community by checking in virtually with friends and family who may need assistance during extreme weather,” Breed tweeted.
Downtown San Rafael, 18 miles north of San Francisco, was closed to all nonessential traffic after multiple roadways flooded and were “not safe for travel,” San Rafael police said.
Several parts of California, including the Santa Cruz Mountains and parts of western Santa Barbara County, have issued evacuation orders because of their proximity to wildfire burn scars. Heavy rain was possible across much of Southern California later in the day.
West Coast’s ‘bomb cyclone’ could become nor’easter
The storms originated over the Pacific Ocean last week and will be moving west-to-east across the nation, AccuWeather said. The first line already has produced drenching rain and severe thunderstorms in the nation’s midsection, with possible tornadoes reported in Missouri.
Severe thunderstorms were forecast for the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys, while rain and showers will spread farther north. By Tuesday, the storm will strengthen as it moves across southern New England, bombarding residents with heavy rain and increasingly windy conditions, AccuWeather said.
“An early season tempest could bring a wind-driven, chilly rain to portions of the Northeast from Monday through Wednesday,” Adkins said.
Flooding downpours will reach from southern Maine to eastern New York in cities such as Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, which are expected to pick up 4 inches of rain, with localized totals reaching 8 inches in some areas as the storm intensifies off the coast, AccuWeather forecast.
Winds are expected to gust from 40 to 60 mph Tuesday and Wednesday from the Jersey Shore to the southern shore of Nova Scotia.
Cities such as Provincetown, Plymouth and Boston, Massachusetts, could experience wind gusts as high as 80 mph Tuesday night, AccuWeather said.
By Thursday, the nor’easter will move out ot sea — but another storm built on remnants from the “bomb cyclone” that walloped California on Sunday is expected to approach from the west, dousing East Coast trick-or-treaters next weekend.
Contributing: The Associated Press