June 5, 2023


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Storm kills 14 in California, Prince Harry’s town evacuated

Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at 3:25 pm.

Heavy rain is still expected to hit California on Tuesday, where a series of storms have already claimed 14 lives and prompted authorities to order evacuations in several areas, including the wealthy town of Montecito, home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

“Winter storms killed 14 Californians, more than wildfires in the past two years combined,” state Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said in a statement.

“Several days of severe winter weather are still ahead of us,” the governor added, urging his fellow citizens to be “extremely vigilant”.

A 5-year-old boy was swept away Monday in Paso Robles, a small city between Los Angeles and San Francisco, local media reported, citing the sheriff’s office.

The car he was traveling in with his mother got caught in the flood and was rescued by neighbors. According to Fox 11 Channel, authorities called off their search in the afternoon because of the weather.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the region is still expecting heavy rain, thunderstorms and very strong winds on Tuesday.

– “That’s madness” –

Authorities have ordered the evacuation of Montecito, a beach town north of Los Angeles and popular with celebrities. Actress Jennifer Aniston and TV host Oprah Winfrey own homes worth millions of dollars.

Up to 20 centimeters of rain was expected in 24 hours in the mountains, which were already saturated by storms over the past few days. Enough to make the city, surrounded by mountains, greatly weakened by a fire five years ago, and more vulnerable to landslides.

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Five years ago, 23 people died in a landslide triggered by heavy rains in the city.

In Montecito, home to actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Katy Perry, residents were evacuating their homes, but it was still difficult to determine how many followed the evacuation order.

Spokesmen for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not respond to a request for comment.

An AFP reporter noted that police had set up roadblocks to prevent anyone from entering the city, where many roads were completely flooded.

Firefighters recalled on Twitter that in the past 30 days, Montecito has received “higher than our annual average” rainfall.

On Monday, Ellen DeGeneres, a television host who lives in the city, posted a video on Twitter showing the muddy water.

“Crazy” she said nervously. “That creek next to our house never runs.”

– A series of storms –

Not only the area was evacuated.

In Santa Cruz County, near San Francisco, where a port was destroyed last week, more than 30,000 residents were affected by evacuation orders.

In the past few days, many districts have experienced unprecedented rainfall. The ground is completely covered with water and the US Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flood warning for much of California.

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 220,000 homes were without power, according to specialty site PowerOutage.

Although it is difficult to establish a direct link between these storms and climate change, scientists continue to explain that warming is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

Last week’s storm already knocked out power to tens of thousands of people, triggered severe flooding and landslides. It came just days after it rained again on New Year’s Day.

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However, the exceptional rainfall of the past few days may not be enough to replenish water reserves in California, which has been hit hard by two decades of drought. According to experts, this will require several winters with more than normal rainfall.