Latest California storm leaves at least two dead and breaks levee

Latest California storm leaves at least two dead and breaks levee

Another powerful storm pummeled California overnight into Saturday, forcing thousands to evacuate and resulting in at least two deaths, while causing a levee to give way in coastal Monterey County.

"We were hoping to avoid and prevent this situation, but the worst case scenario has arrived with the Pajaro River overtopping and levee breaching at about midnight," Luis Alejo, a Monterey County supervisor, said Saturday on Twitter.

Residents told AFP they were alerted by local fire officials in the middle of the night that they needed to evacuate.

"Just the noise of the fire department -- their sirens and all -- woke us up," said Moses, a resident of the area for around 20 years who preferred to give only his first name.

He said officials later came and knocked on his door multiple times, but that he decided to wait until 5:00 AM to make a decision.

After returning home from surveying the flooding, Moses said water was beginning to cover his street.

"That's when I told my wife, 'hey, we got to get out of here,'" he said.

The area remained under a flood warning Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Friday night, state emergency services director Nancy Ward announced that the storm had already claimed at least two lives.

Images posted on Twitter by the state's National Guard account showed guardsmen rescuing residents trapped in their cars by high water.

At least one road was washed away in Santa Cruz County, just north of Monterey.

Residents in several towns, mostly in the north, have been ordered to evacuate.

The resulting runoff threatens to aggravate already serious flooding.


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