A massive bomb cyclone and atmospheric river slammed into Northern California on Sunday, bringing flash floods and debris flows along the burn scars from this summer’s fires. Winds blew through the San Francisco Bay Area at more than 50 mph, and in the Marin County community of Kentfield, more than 7 inches of rain fell at 8:30 a.m. PT, CBS San Francisco reported.
The atmospheric river — a band carrying more water vapor than the surrounding air — was elevated to a Category 5, the highest designation on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Extreme Weather Lab scale.
There were evacuation orders issued for hundreds of homes in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire burn scar zone in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Debris and ash leftover from fires can cause mudslides or lead to severe flooding.
There were at least two evacuation centers set up in Sacramento on Sunday.
Caltrans, the agency that manages the state’s highway system, tweeted that there had already been “flooding, rock slides, chain controls, overturned vehicles” on Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service retweeted photos of a landslide along Highway 70 near Tobin, California. There were other road closures as well from flash floods, rock slides and downed trees.
The storm arrived earlier than expected and rainfall is expected to continue until Tuesday. Sunday is supposed to be the worst of the storm.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of one of the affected communities. It is Kentfield.