A powerful late-season Pacific storm brought damaging winds and more rain and snow to California on Tuesday as the first full day of spring showed little change from the state’s extraordinary winter.
The storm concentrated most of its power in the central and southern parts of the state, bringing torrential downpours and the threat of avalanches in the mountains that forecasters said would measure in feet. In the north, heavy hail was reported in Sacramento, the state capital.
Downed trees and power lines were reported in the San Francisco Bay Area. An Amtrak commuter train carrying 55 passengers struck a downed tree and derailed near the East Bay village of Porta Costa. The train was upright and no one was injured, Amtrak and fire officials said.
In the Bay Area community of Portola Valley, a man driving a sewer truck was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle, the California Highway Patrol said.
In the Monterey Bay region, a severe storm over the ocean produced wind gusts of 80 mph (129 km/h) in Santa Cruz County by midday. Along the coast of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, sea foam blew over the road like large avalanches.
Wind gusts reached 76 mph (122 km) in Santa Cruz Mountain communities including Boulder Creek.
Resident Frank Kuhr waited hours at a downtown supermarket Tuesday afternoon for crews to remove large redwoods blocking a highway. “There are trees down everywhere,” Kuhr said. “The wind was incredible. Branches were blowing in the wind, and people could hear trees falling and cracking.”
“It’s a distraction,” Kuhr said.
Typhoon Koskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
According to PowerOutage.us, about 210,000 customers were without power across the state, mostly in areas south of San Francisco.
The National Weather Service said the storm is a Pacific low pressure system that is interacting with California’s 12 Atmospheric rivers From the end of December.
An unexpected bout of wet weather in California after years of drought included a February blizzard driven by Arctic winds.
The storm caused flooding and loaded the mountains with so much snow that roofs collapsed and crews struggled to keep highways clear of snow.
Mammoth Mountain Resort in the eastern Sierra Nevada has announced that it will remain open for skiing and snowboarding until at least the end of July.
With a season-to-date snowfall of 634 inches (16.1 m) at the main lodge, it was probably just one storm away from breaking the all-time record of 668 inches (16.9 m) set in the 2010–2011 season.