On New Year’s Day, a powerful storm brought heavy rain or snowfall much of the state, breaching levees, snarling traffic, and major closing highways. Residents of a Northern California community were ordered to evacuate ahead of impending flooding, and evacuation warnings were in place elsewhere in rural parts of the region.
Major flooding continued to occur even after the storm passed through in agricultural areas approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Sacramento, where rivers overflowed their banks and submerged scores of vehicles along State Route 99. On New Year’s Eve and into the following day, emergency personnel saved drivers, but the roadway remained closed.
Authorities in Sacramento County ordered residents of the low-lying neighborhood of Point Pleasant near Interstate 5 to leave late Sunday due to impending and dangerous flooding. Glanville Tract and Franklin Pond residents were warned to get ready to go before the rising water blocked off other roads, and evacuation became difficult.
On Sunday afternoon, the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services posted on Twitter, “It is projected that the flooding from the Cosumnes River and the Mokelumne River is flowing southwest toward I-5 and might reach these communities in the middle of the night.” “Livestock should be transported to higher land in the impacted locations.”
According to CBS Sacramento, one individual was discovered deceased inside a car on a flooded road southeast of Sacramento. Around 10 a.m. local time, a Cosumnes Fire Department aircraft found the submerged car on Dillard Road near Highway 99, according to CBS Sacramento.
The California Department of Transportation said that on New Year’s Eve, dozens of other drivers spun out in the snow while driving along Interstate 80 near Lake Tahoe were saved. Early Sunday, the main route from the San Francisco Bay Area to the mountains reopened to passenger cars equipped with chains.
The California Highway Patrol posted on Twitter, “Let’s all work together and slow down so we can keep I-80 open. The roadways are extremely slick.” State Route 50 and other roadways were among those to reopen.
More than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow had accumulated in the high Sierra Nevada. The Mammoth Mountain Ski Area warned that heavy, wet snow would significantly delay chairlift openers. The resort reported many lift closures on Saturday, citing strong gusts, poor visibility, and ice.
At least 17,000 customers in the state capital were still without power early on Sunday, down from more than 150,000 a day earlier, according to a map on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s website.
Following the breach of the levee over the Cosumnes River in East Central Sacramento County on Sunday, the National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning.