Major Storms Bring Flooding to East and West Coast

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • Powerful storms this week in California and the northeast have the potential for flash flooding and snow.
  • Millions of people are under weather alerts and evacuation orders in California are already in effect.
  • Flood and winter weather warnings are holding for the next couple of days. Residents should prepare and stock up for the long haul.

Major storms hitting the northeast and California this week are raising the risk of flooding in areas that have already experienced high-precipitation events. These storms are the result of a Nor’easter on the east coast and an atmospheric river in California.

As of writing, over 60 communities nationwide (including 17 million people just in California) are under some form of flood watch or warning. Another 22 million people are under winter weather alerts. The current weather system follows a weekend of major flooding and winds in California.

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The National Weather Service predicts heavy rain and mountain snow in California resulting in widespread flooding, particularly in areas that are prone to flooding and have experienced recent rainfall.

The current storms are very strong and should be taken seriously. Heavy snow at up to two inches per hour, with wind gusts up to 50-60 mph, is projected for the nor’easter on the east coast.

Power outages caused by the high winds, heavy snow, and rain could occur throughout the country. While some homes have portable home generators to keep the lights on, power outages can be deadly.

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Extreme Weather Evacuations: Know the odds and things to consider

It seems like we're seeing more extreme weather events than ever—and evacuation orders often follow. To find out how widespread these orders are, we asked 5,000 people across the US if they were under an evacuation order in 2021. Here's what we found:

  • 1-in-10 Americans were under evacuation due to natural disasters in 2021.

  • Louisiana experienced the highest rate of evacuations with 1-in-2 impacted  (hurricanes and flooding were the top concerns).

  • High winds and extreme heat or cold are the top extreme weather concerns.

  • 2-in-5 Americans prepare for natural disasters with emergency kits or family  emergency planning.

Weather watches and warnings precede storms

As of Tuesday afternoon, California and Nevada are under flash flood watches and coastal flood warnings while much of the east coast is dealing with a winter weather advisor and blizzard warnings, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association.

Flood watches in much of central and northern California will remain in effect until at least Wednesday morning with widespread emergency evacuations possible. The flood warnings are not only because of high rain totals—the state is looking at three to eight inches of rain—but also because of previous storms that have already saturated the soil.

The increase in rainfall coupled with the intensity of the storm could lead to roads and homes flooding. In addition, high winds up to 60 mph are possible along with a risk of avalanches.

Heavy wet snow is expected in the northeast, with high winds predicted to shut down parts of the region during the storm. Higher snowfall counts (up to 30 inches) are focused more in the mountain regions of the Catskills while the Berkshires, Litchfield Hills, and other high-elevation areas in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are forecasting 12 to 24 inches of snow.

Weather conditions have already impacted businesses and schools in the region. Many areas started off with rain before switching to snow but the coast is going to be seeing rain and high-wind gusts up to 65 mph. Coastal flooding is anticipated.

The storms in California and the northeast could last through Wednesday. Other storms—rain for both—are on the horizon for the weekend too.

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U.N. Report Says Climate Change Leading to “Escalating Hazards”

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its newest report, which warns, “Urgent climate action can secure a liveable future for all.” As climate change continues to accelerate, extreme weather events will become more common.

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise, Business.org, Reviews.org, Move.org, WhistleOut.com, CableTV.com, HighSpeedInternet.com, and SatelliteInternet.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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