California weather: storm warning in place as bomb cyclone hits west coast - has anyone died?

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Evacuation orders have been issued as severe weather batters the west coast of the US

The US has seen its fair share of severe weather over the past few weeks, with a bomb cyclone hitting many states over Christmas and New Year. California is the latest location to be battered by storms, with the dangerous conditions putting life at risk in the west coast state.

Multiple people have now died from the extreme storms. The state has been under a state of emergency since Wednesday 4 January.

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It comes after millions of Americans were left without power and grounded over the holiday period. New York was among the locations affected around Christmas Day, with flights cancelled and weather warnings in place in areas of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

The situation in California has seen heavy snow and high winds batter the west coast. Atmospheric rivers - those with a high current - are also being seen, with flooding likely as a result.

Residents are being warned to remain vigilant. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said: "We want people to stay indoors, we want them to stay home."

 The Golden Gate Bridge is seen through the storm hitting northern California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The Golden Gate Bridge is seen through the storm hitting northern California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The Golden Gate Bridge is seen through the storm hitting northern California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images | Getty Images

What is a bomb cyclone?

The bomb cyclone has been making its way across the US since late December. A bomb cyclone is a powerful storm system which occurs with the air pressure rapidly declines.

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As the air pressure declines, extreme weather circumstances such as flooding and low temperatures can create dangerous situations. Parts of the US saw temperatures dropping as low as -45C, with at least 21 deaths reported as a result of the freezing temperatures.

As the cyclone has moved around the country, bad weather has blighted different states. California is the latest to experience severe weather.

A vehicle drives on a flooded road in Sebastopol, California. Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty ImagesA vehicle drives on a flooded road in Sebastopol, California. Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images
A vehicle drives on a flooded road in Sebastopol, California. Credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images

Has anyone died in California amid the bomb cyclone?

As of yet, two people are confirmed to have died in California as a result of the bomb cyclone. This includes a two-year-old toddler.

Local media have reported that the child was believed to have died after a tree fell on his home during high winds. The second death was that of a 19-year-old woman, who died after her car crashed on a flooded road.

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Previous bad weather in 2018 saw multiple deaths around high-risk coastal areas. At the time, 23 people died after heavy rain resulted in mudslides.

Utility workers prepare to make repairs to downed power lines on Nicasio Valley Road after utility poles were toppled by high winds on January 05, 2023 in Nicasio, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesUtility workers prepare to make repairs to downed power lines on Nicasio Valley Road after utility poles were toppled by high winds on January 05, 2023 in Nicasio, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Utility workers prepare to make repairs to downed power lines on Nicasio Valley Road after utility poles were toppled by high winds on January 05, 2023 in Nicasio, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images | Getty Images

What have California officials said about the situation?

As the storm moved around the state, it is believed that at least 180,000 people have been left without power. The northern coast of the state - which includes San Francisco and San Jose - has been the worst hit so far.

The storm is likely to peak in southern areas on Thursday 5 January. Nancy Ward, director of the California’s Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said: “We anticipate that this may be one of the most challenging and impactful series of storms to touch down in California in the last five years.”

California governor Gavin Newsome has declared a state of emergency. This is to allow for a quick clean up of the state after the storm passes.

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Residents in southern areas, including Santa Barbara County, have been ordered to evacuate. These areas, which were recently the victims of wildfires which destroyed much of the trees, are at risk of floating debris and musslids as a result of heavy rain.

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