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California Rains Bring ‘Wettest Winter in Decades’, and a Tornado

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California, and especially the state’s North Coast region, has experienced “the wettest winter” in decades, thanks to recent steady rains. Local weather has featured widespread flooding, power outages, high tides, falling trees, school closures and even a tornado.

“PG&E meteorologists today said this is the wettest winter that Humboldt County and Mendocino County have seen in 20 years,” Pacific Gas and Electric Company representative Deanna Contreras told the Eureka Times-Standard Tuesday. “The last time this much rain fell in these areas was the winter of 1996-1997.”

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The National Weather Service reportedly said the Eel River reached 20 feet — which is considered flood stage — Tuesday evening. Other rivers were reported as being at or near flood levels.

This weekend, California’s crippling five-year drought came to a temporary halt in the northern part of the state, as roughly 350 billion gallons of water came pouring into the region’s biggest reservoirs over the previous few days, boosting storage to levels not seen in years.

“A special action advisory is being issued to all owners of livestock near the river and in low-lying areas,” a Humboldt County Administrative Office news release stated, notes the Times-Standard. “These animals are at potential risk due to rises in the Eel River and appropriate action should be considered.”

The Eel River and its tributaries, which drains Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Trinity Counties, together form the third largest watershed in California.

Further, the Humboldt Bay reportedly broke a high tide record reaching 9.64 feet — 1.4′ feet higher than predicted — marking “an all-time high”:

According to the Associated Press, a small tornado, just south of Sacramento, tore tree limbs and ripped awnings from homes late Tuesday evening. It was reportedly on the ground for 3/8 of a mile and registered on the low end of the tornado scale.

The AP noted that no injuries were reported from the twister.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz


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