Jan 8 A powerful storm lashed California and
other parts of the western United States on Sunday, bringing
flooding and the risk of dangerous mudslides to a state that has
struggled with drought for years.
As of late morning, the storm was dumping between one-half
and three-quarters of an inch (1.3 to 1.9 cm) of rain per hour
in parts of California and was set to continue for several
hours, according to meteorologist Kenny James of the National
Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.
In Oregon and parts of Washington State and Idaho, the storm
was expected to bring ice through this evening, creating
James said the highest elevations of the Sierra Nevada
mountain range in California could get 3 to 7 feet (0.9 to 2.1
meters) of snow by Monday.
In northern California, officials reported power outages and
roads closed due to overflowing rivers. An "extreme" avalanche
warning was issued for the Sierra Nevada range, which runs
through the central and eastern part of the state.
The National Park Service said all roads to the valley in
Yosemite National Park were closed because of expected flooding.
In Oregon, a men's basketball game between Gonzaga
University and the University of Portland scheduled for Saturday
night was postponed indefinitely, while the National Basketball
Association's Portland Trailblazers postponed a home game
against the Detroit Pistons from Saturday night to Sunday
Iridium Communications said Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket
company had delayed Monday's launch of a Falcon 9 rocket
carrying 10 of its satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base,
located north of Los Angeles.
The flight, which will be SpaceX's first since a launch pad
explosion in Florida four months ago, is now targeted for 9:54
a.m. PST/17:54 p.m. GMT on Saturday.
The storm is drawing its strength from the interaction
between an "atmospheric river," a long plume of water vapor
flowing from the tropics toward the West Coast, and a
low-pressure area near Oregon, according to James.
After years of drought, the storm is the latest incident in
a strong wet season for California that began in the fall.
Another front is expected to move into the area on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the eastern United States experienced cold
temperatures on Sunday, the day after a massive storm dumped
snow from Georgia to Massachusetts, causing hundreds of car
accidents and knocking out power to thousands of people.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by
Irene Klotz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)