The latest powerful atmospheric river to drench California has put nearly 27,000 people under evacuation orders due to flooding and landslide risks.
On the Central Coast, workers hauled truckloads of rocks to plug a broken river levee amid steady rain and wind. Power outages hit more than 330,000 utility customers in northern and central areas, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages nationwide.
More flooding was expected on the central coast, where the Pajaro River swelled with runoff from last week’s atmospheric river.
Authorities had not received reports of any deaths or missing persons related to the storm as of Monday.
Pajaro, an unincorporated community known for its strawberry crops, was largely flooded. More than 8,500 people were told to evacuate, and nearly 250 people have been rescued since Friday.
Some residents of the largely Latino farmworker community stayed. One shelter was already full by midday on Tuesday, and officials were forced to open two more to accommodate the evacuees.
“We live seven houses away from the river and the water level was six feet high, seven probably,” said evacuee Andres Garcia. “So we probably lost everything.”
A second 100-foot (30-metre) breach in the levee opened closer to the Pacific coast, providing a “relief valve” for floodwaters to recede near the mouth of the river, officials said at a news conference on Monday.
The river separates Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Highway 1, a main link between the two counties, was closed along with several other roads.