CARPINTERIA, Calif. — As rain lashed Southern California overnight, parts of the Los Angeles area experienced flooding, and forecasters warned that little relief was expected on Tuesday.
Since Sunday, when the latest wave of moisture, known as an atmospheric river, swept across the state, parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, just north of Los Angeles, had received more than 16 inches of rain as of early Tuesday, leading to evacuations and flood alerts.
The death toll related to the weather continued to climb. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said that, as of Monday afternoon, winter storms across the state had killed 14 people. That toll did not include a person who was killed on Monday by floodwater while trying to navigate a submerged road in San Luis Obispo County, north of Santa Barbara.
In the same county, a 5-year-old boy was missing after the vehicle he was in was swept away by floodwaters.
Additional rain, including thunderstorms, was forecast for Tuesday, worsening the ongoing flooding and raising the risk of flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in areas scarred by wildfires, the National Weather Service said in an advisory.
More than 34 million people, mostly in Southern and Central California, were under a flood watch early Tuesday, the Weather Service said. And more than 220,000 customers, mostly in Santa Clara County, were without power, according to PowerOutage.us.
Forecasters in Los Angeles warned that the next round of heavy precipitation would tear across the region through much of Tuesday and that some of the passing storms could bring wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour. There were concerns that storms could also bring hail and spawn tornadoes.
In the Bay Area, meteorologists were carefully watching the storms for Tuesday and advised locals to remain weather aware and have multiple ways to receive weather alerts. A similar forecast was issued farther inland for the Sacramento regionwith meteorologists adding, “When thunder roars, head indoors.”
A large swath of Southern California was walloped with dangerous weather on Monday night. In Los Angeles, where more than an inch of rain fell in an hour and where cars were partially submerged, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for Los Angeles International Airport after 8 p.m., effectively slowing down takeoffs and landings for about an hour.
Concerns over flooding followed a chaotic day in Santa Barbara County, where officials ordered thousands of residents to quickly evacuate coastal communities over worries of mudslides in the area where wildfires have made the ground less stable.
The orders were issued five years to the day that a torrent of mud and boulders rushed through neighborhoods in Montecito, killing 23 people.
“We’re in the midst of a series of significant and powerful storms,” Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County said in a briefing on Monday. “Currently, we’re experiencing a storm that is causing many problems and has the potential to cause major problems across our county, especially in the burn scar areas.”
Scott Jalbert, San Luis Obispo County’s emergency services manager, said that the rivers and creeks in the area were gushing like they hadn’t in decades. “They’re pretty monstrous,” he said.
Terrible conditions were also reported in Santa Cruz County, about 70 miles south of San Francisco. More than 30,000 residents were evacuated as creeks and rivers topped their banks, threatened homes and washed away at least one bridge. Mudslides also blocked at least two highways that connect the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Bay Area.
Most of California has seen rainfall totals over the past several weeks that have been up to 600 percent above average values, forecasters said. The rain, although damaging and deadly, has brought some relief from the drought that has persisted across large portions of the West.
By time the rain begins to wind down on Tuesday evening, yet another “enormous cyclone” forming off the coast will slam areas from Northern California north along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, on Wednesday, the Weather Service said. Rainfall totals over the next several days in many parts of California could reach seven additional inches.
Jill Cowan reported from Carpinteria, Calif., and Derrick Bryson Taylor from London. Katya Cengel contributed reporting from Grover Beach, Calif., Victoria Kim from San Francisco and Mike Ives from Seoul.