(Los Angeles) A violent storm rages Monday in California, bringing biting winds and dangerous flooding for millions of people, particularly in the south of this American state.
The US Weather Service (NWS) has warned of “life-threatening” flooding caused by “heavy rainfall” that is leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.
According to local authorities, a person lost his life in northern California, crushed by a redwood tree in his backyard.
“This is a major storm, with dangerous consequences that can potentially threaten lives,” said California Governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, proclaiming a state of emergency in eight of California’s 58 counties.
Those in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Santa Barbara are particularly affected.
Nearly 700,000 homes were without electricity Monday morning, according to the specialist site PowerOutage.us.
Dozens of flights departing and arriving at Los Angeles airport were canceled or delayed, according to the tracking site flightaware.com.
According to the NWS, 5 to 8 inches of rain is expected to fall in the Los Angeles area on Monday, bringing the total to more than 14 inches of rain in 48 hours in some locations.
The weather service warned that conditions “will worsen” during the day, leading to “flash flooding” and “landslides.”
The NWS also mentions “dangerous lightning”, “urban flooding” and “rivers” overflowing their banks.
This storm with gusts of 100 km/h or more is part of a meteorological phenomenon called “Pineapple express” which originates in Hawaii, near a tropical humidity zone.
The west coast of the United States endured an unusually wet winter last year, due to a series of closely spaced storms that brought near-record rainfall.
These disasters caused more than twenty deaths and caused numerous damages and power outages.
However, this precipitation allowed California to replenish its water reserves after several years of intense drought.
Historically, California is used to alternating between hot spells and intense rains and it is always complicated to link a particular weather event to climate change.
However, scientists have been warning for years that global warming is disrupting the climate and increasing the frequency of extreme events, whether storms or heatwaves.