California's Newsom blames climate change, to seek federal assistance as more storms line up to batter state
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a press conference on Sunday that he is requesting a state of emergency from the White House as another round of storms targets the Golden State this week.
Severe storms in California knocked out power to over 560,000 homes on Sunday.
Along with power outages, the state has faced several days of severe weather events and two more are scheduled to occur this week. The first storm is expected to begin Monday and go into the early morning hours on Tuesday, and the second storm will occur from Jan. 12-14.
"We’ve been at this how many days and expect to see the worst of it still in front of us," Newsom said. "We’re anticipating some very intense weather coming in tomorrow, tomorrow evening in particular, into the early hours of Tuesday morning."
The governor and his team referred to these storms as atmospheric rivers, or storms that dump massive amounts of rain, causing flooding, mudslides, property damage and the loss of life.
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In fact, 12 people have died because of flooding during atmospheric river events according to Newsom, making them more deadly than wildfires over the last two years.
"These floods are deadly and have now turned to be more deadly than even the wildfires here in the state of California," he said. "Common sense. Just be cautious over the course of the next week, again, particularly the next day or two."
Fox Weather reported that the National Weather Service advised people in California to stay current with weather forecasts over the next several days as there is a "direct threat to life and property" from these upcoming storms.
The warming comes after a deadly bomb cyclone produced flooding rain, debris flows, damaging winds and large waves in the region last week.
Two people died in the San Francisco Bay area during the bomb cyclone, one of whom was a child inside a home when a tree fell on it.
In Fairfield, a 19-year-old woman was killed when her car hydroplaned on a partially flooded road and crashed into a utility pole.
The latest atmospheric river will push into California late Sunday night and early Monday morning, Fox Weather said, bringing heavy rain and damaging wind to the region.
Flood watches have been issued across the state and are expected to remain in effect through Wednesday.
State officials warned residents that just a foot of water can cause a car to start flooding. When drivers decide to risk driving into flooded areas, Newsom said, they not only put their lives at risk, but also the lives of first responders.
Newsom said he has been in contact with the White House to discuss federal assistance with these storms, and that he was ready to make a formal request on Sunday. He added that he was confident he would get the full support of the federal government.
He also said the intensity of these atmospheric rivers are not only increasing but are also the result of climate change.
"Hot’s getting a lot hotter," Newsom said. "Dry’s getting a lot dryer. But the wet’s getting a lot wetter, as well."