Catastrophic flash floods have hit California as the state is slammed by its third major storm of the year.
The devastating ‘Pineapple Express’ storm hit the West Coast on Thursday evening, placing 21 counties under a state of emergency.
Officials fear the region’s 13-person death toll caused by recent weather destruction could rise, leading to evacuation warnings in several coastal counties.
Roughly 17 million people in parts of California and Nevada are under flood watches as of Friday, with the weather front bringing upwards of an inch of rain every hour through the day.
More than a dozen people have died and many more remain stranded in the San Bernadino mountain range as historic amounts of snow have hit the Golden State in recent weeks.
Recent weeks have seen some of the most destructive weather on the West Coast in recent memory, with snowpack levels across the state currently 215 percent higher than normal, according to forecaster Snoflo.
Torrential rain will continue to batter the Golden State over the weekend, while 21 counties are under a state of emergency
The wet and wild weather comes after California has seen historic snowfall in recent months, with mountainous regions remaining under deep snowpack
A Level four of four excessive rainfall warning has been issued for California residents stretching from Salinas to San Luis Obispo.
The National Weather Service is warning of severe storms leading to catastrophic flooding in several areas along the West Coast heading into the weekend.
‘Multiple rounds of rainfall in addition to melting snow will result in the potential for significant rises along streams and rivers, with widespread flooding impacts possible through early next week,’ the forecaster said Thursday.
Nevada is also expected to be hit by the storm, causing potent wind gusts and further flooding across the northeast of the state.
The area has been blanketed in upwards of 170 inches of snowpack, with the deepest snow reaching a depth of 230 inches at Leavitt Lake.
But with torrential rain now forecast to wash out the state, rapidly melting snow is leading to fears over severe property damage and travel chaos in the coming days.
As of 6am Friday, more than 67,000 homes and businesses across California were without power.
Roofs collapsed under the deep snow and rainfall in some communities, while Yosemite National Park has closed its doors until Monday due to the weather.
And forecasters have warned that the influx will potentially put further ‘lives and property’ in ‘great danger’ in California.
‘Areas that do not experience flash flooding will flood,’ continued the National Weather Service.
‘The first round of heavy precipitation is expected through Friday, with heavy precipitation likely again late Sunday through early next week.’
Deputies reportedly went door-to-door Thursday night as the San Lorenzo River began overflowing due to the downpour.
Santa Cruz County ordered residents in Felton Grove, Paradise Park and Soquel Village to evacuate, with local Sean Gianni telling KABC it was his fourth evacuation due to California’s recent weather struggle.
‘The river comes like super far up, there are a couple of houses in the neighborhood that aren’t even raised so they are going to go completely underwater,’ he said.
The Santa Rosa Fire Department has also warned people to avoid all ‘unnecessary travel,’ as shocking images showed the entirety of Highway 12 submerged.
In San Mateo County, around 20 miles from San Francisco, two motorists escaped serious injury after a tree collapsed onto their Tesla due to the high winds.
Speaking after placing 21 counties under a state of emergency, California Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday evening: ‘The state is working around the clock with local partners to deploy life-saving equipment and first responders to communities across California.
‘With more dangerous storms on the horizon, we’ll continue to mobilize every available resource to protect Californians.’
The governor has since requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration to aid his response to the storm.
Newsom’s Friday appeal is his second request in the last two months as California continues to be slammed by frequent weather bombs.
In San Mateo County, high winds caused a tree to crush a Tesla while two occupants, who survived, were inside
Highway 12 in Santa Rosa, California was submerged Friday as torrential rain washed out the region
The Los Angeles area is set to be hit with torrential rain in the coming days
It comes after at least 13 have died directly due to the wild weather and heavy snowfall in recent weeks, which left large numbers without power across the region.
Back-to-back snowstorms dumped over 17 feet of snow in San Bernadino County over the last two weeks, as the Sheriff’s Department saying they have responded to 13 related deaths since February 23.
Residents in the mountain communities told the Los Angeles Times that they have been left stranded without food, electricity, heat and medication for weeks.
‘They’re going to find more dead,’ warned resident Liberty Guerrero, who said she knows three elderly locals who died in the last week.
Last week, San Bernadino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus warned locals to avoid the mountains due to the deep snowfall, while deputies tirelessly worked to extract the stranded residents.
Many remained trapped inside their homes in San Bernadino, California as emergency vehicles struggle to get through the snow-covered roads
The ‘Pineapple Express’ storm will begin moving through the Midwest over the weekend, bringing upwards of six inches of snow to the Northern Plains.
After stretching through Missouri, Illoinois and Wisconsin through the weekend, with modest wind gusts and some snow forecast.
Hitting the East Cost by Sunday, more wild weather is predicted to linger through to Wednesday.
Bitter winds, torrential rain and snow in places is expected, and while the exact track of the weather front has not been confirmed, it is predicted to hug parts of the Northeast seaboard into next week.