Senior Editor
Northern California storm

The Capitola Pier was split in half and buildings were damaged by the storm surge. Images: Screenshots/YouTube

The Inertia

Northern California was hammered by severe weather on Wednesday and Thursday, killing at least six people. As day broke on Friday morning, the extent of the damage became more apparent.

Footage from coastal areas shows toppled trees, damaged buildings, and downed power lines. A levee broke outside of Sacramento, killing three who were found in or near submerged vehicles. A two-year-old boy was reportedly killed when a redwood tree hit a home in Occidental in Sonoma County, and flooding and wild waves left beaches in bad shape. It’s not done yet, either — water levels in numerous rivers could rise to dangerous levels over the course of the next few days and more weather systems are on the way. Authorities and residents alike are still on high alert.

“It’s going to remain wet and unsettled for the coming days,” said Scott Rowe, a lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, told the LA Times. “Through the weekend and next week we’re expecting at least two, three, possibly even more storms to be impacting Northern California, so it’s something we’re keeping a close eye on.”

Although meteorologists are expecting a break in the weather on Friday, it looks as though another storm, albeit a less powerful one, will hit the Bay Area over the weekend, followed by a much stronger one expected to make landfall early next week.  The Weather Service said that “widespread and potentially significant flooding” is expected.

The latest storm hit the Santa Cruz County coastline hard. Huge waves and high tides pulled down parts of the Capitola pier, as well as a Seacliff pier. Waves up to 20-feet high forced authorities to evacuate and close the Santa Cruz Wharf on Thursday morning.

Thousands of residents in Capitola were evacuated as the waves and tides flooded many coastal businesses. The heavy rain and ensuing runoff was compounded by a 5.6-foot high tide.

“Businesses sustained significant damage down in the Village,” Police Chief Andy Dally said during a news conference.


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