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At least 17 have died in California storms. More storms are coming

Thousands of Californians are still on evacuation orders, as more rain is expected this week

SHARE At least 17 have died in California storms. More storms are coming
A car is nearly submerged under water in Merced, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

Floodwaters course through a neighborhood in Merced, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Following days of rain, Bear Creek overflowed its banks leaving dozens of homes and vehicles surrounded by floodwaters.

Noah Berger, Associated Press

Multiple storms barreled through California during the last couple of weeks, killing at least 17 people in their wake.

California ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents as rain continues to pour on the state. According to CNN, “more than 20 million people are under flood alerts,” especially due to mudslide risks in the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas.

“We’ve had less people die in the last two years of major wildfires in California than have died since New Year’s Day related to this weather,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told the Associated Press. “These conditions are serious and they’re deadly.”

San Francisco experienced its “3rd wettest 15-day period” when compared to records starting in 1849, according to meteorologist Jan Null on Twitter.

More heavy rain is expected to come this week, particularly on Friday, according to The New York Times.

What is causing the storms in California?

The extreme storms are caused by atmospheric rivers, which “funnel extreme amounts of moisture over the oceans into narrow bands of clouds. As these clouds are transported over land, they can produce many hours of intense rain and snow,” The Washington Post reported.

“It’s still very dangerous out there,” San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s spokesperson Tony Cipolla told PBS. “The creeks are very fast flowing.”

Who are some the victims in California’s floods?

One of the most devastating stories from the floods is 5-year-old Kyle Doan, who was swept away from his mom’s arms when rescuers grabbed onto his mother to pull her to safety. The search for Kyle is ongoing since he was lost in the storm Monday, the Times reported.

A tree fell on a pickup truck in Visalia on Tuesday, killing the driver of the pickup. A motorcyclist then crashed into the tree and also died from the impact, per CNN.

Kathy Martinez was headed to assist one of her sons stuck in the mud but got stuck in the high water and ended up drowning in the water, per CBS News.

Mei Keng Lam was on the phone with a friend asking for help when “the line went dead.” Her body was discovered on New Year’s Day, CBS News reported.