Bomb Cyclone and ‘Atmospheric River’ Pummel California With Rain and Wind

Bomb Cyclone and ‘Atmospheric River’ Pummel California With Rain and Wind

Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region.


California bore the brunt on Sunday of what meteorologists referred to as a “bomb cyclone” and an “atmospheric river,” a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service warned that the rainfall could cause mudslides, especially in areas scorched by wildfires.

From Marin County to the area just south of Big Sur along the Pacific Coast, flash flood watches were in effect until late Sunday night and, in some areas, early Monday morning, including parts of the San Francisco peninsula.

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The threat of flash floods prompted evacuation orders for parts of San Mateo County, south of San Francisco, where officials warned that downed trees, branches and mudslides could impede efforts to leave. In San Francisco, emergency responders ordered evacuations on one block, where they said several structures were threatened by a tree that was leaning.

The convergence of storms comes at a challenging time for California, which has been besieged by wildfires and drought, the result of extreme weather brought on by climate change.

As of 11:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, at least 66,000 utility customers in the Bay Area had lost power, said J.D. Guidi, a spokesman for Pacific Gas and Electric. About two-thirds of those outages were reported in Sonoma and Marin Counties.

The utility said that more than 3,000 workers and contractors were ready to help restore power. It said it also expected to bring in hundreds of workers from areas that were less affected by the storm, adding that equipment had been moved into position before the storm.

At San Francisco International Airport, 139 flights had been delayed and 52 others had been canceled as of 10:10 a.m. local time, said Cathy Morrison, an airport duty manager.