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“Pineapple Express” Sweeps California, Atmospheric River Leaves State In Distress

California faced another damaging weather on Thursday after having a peaceful sunny weather in past week.

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California Photo: Image: AP
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A powerful atmospheric river storm swept across California, drenching the state in rain and leaving behind a trail of damage, including fallen trees, flooded roads, and disruptions in travel. Although not expected to reach the chaotic levels seen in the previous winter, authorities and meteorologists are cautioning residents to stay vigilant, as a potentially larger storm is forecasted for the upcoming weekend.

This week's atmospheric river is called "Pineapple Express" due to its moisture plume extending back to near Hawaii, is expected to be followed by an even more formidable storm on Sunday, as indicated by forecasters.

Jackie Ruiz, a spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, emphasized the need for full preparation. The community, situated between mountains and the sea, is particularly susceptible to flooding and mudslides. With back-to-back storms, meteorologists anticipate significant rainfall affecting nearly the entire state.

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The initial impact was felt in Northern California, causing flooding on Wednesday and necessitating the closure of roads and schools in rural areas. In Sonoma County, at least one person had to be rescued from a waterlogged car. Forecasters also issued warnings about large and hazardous waves along the coast.

The storm's potency pushed San Francisco's cumulative rainfall total above the normal level for this season, reported Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Jose State University.

Southern California residents woke up to gray skies, gusty winds, and heavy rainfall on Thursday. Flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Los Angeles County, particularly near beaches, ports, and hillsides.

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Rose Schoenfeld, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Los Angeles area, highlighted the need for vigilance in Palos Verdes Estates. Last July, this area experienced landslides as homes perched atop seaside bluffs slid into a canyon, a situation attributed to soil saturation from the previous winter's storms. Authorities are urging residents to exercise caution and prioritize safety measures.

Last winter, California faced a barrage of drought-breaking atmospheric rivers that resulted in widespread flooding, impactful waves battering coastal communities, and unprecedented snowfall causing structural damage. The events led to more than 20 fatalities.

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services has activated its operations center and strategically positioned personnel and equipment in areas deemed most vulnerable to the impending weather events.

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