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2 dead in massive California storms; Highway 1 washed out

Massive storms walloped California on Friday, leaving at least two people dead. In Northern California, drone footage captured the extent of the damage on Highway 1 near Big Sur, where a landslide caused by an atmospheric river of moisture took out a portion of the historic roadway.

California’s transportation department Caltrans posted drone footage of the washout on Highway 1 at Rat Creek, about 15 miles south of Big Sur. 

Check out this amazing drone video of #Hwy1 washout at Rat Creek about 15 miles south of #BigSur. Our crews are on site securing it, assessing damage & starting clean-up/ repairs. Reminder: the road is OPEN from #Carmel thru town of Big Sur. @bigsurkate @BigSurCC @CHP_Coastal pic.twitter.com/rB193DzXhL

— Caltrans District 5 (@CaltransD5) January 29, 2021

The highway had been closed along the Big Sur coastline since Tuesday and evacuation warnings were issued in parts of Monterey County and in areas downhill from land scarred by wildfires last year.

The storms were fueled by an atmospheric river weather system which caused flooding as well as mud and debris flows, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents, CBS San Francisco reported.     

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an emergency proclamation for the counties of Monterey and San Luis Obispo. 

The storm dumped 10 feet of snow in the Sierra Mountains. A skier was found dead near a chairlift and intersecting trails at Mammoth Mountain on Thursday. The ski resort posted on Instagram that a slide was triggered in a closed area of the mountain.

Another death was reported near the Mexican border, where seven people were trapped in a flooded storm drain, according to The Associated Press

Before the storm, California had seen a period of severe to extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S Drought Monitor.

In Modesto, for example, there had only been 1.73 inches of rain between October 1 and January 24, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento. By January 28, it had risen to 5.17 inches of rain. The normal total for the time period is 6.42 inches of rain. 

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Source: 2 dead in massive California storms; Highway 1 washed out

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