California Suffers Damage After Multiple Storms

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Another week of storms.

The toll of so many days of rain in California became increasingly apparent on Tuesday: An apartment building roof in South San Francisco flew off early in the morning. A sinkhole opened in Chatsworth and swallowed two cars. Two motorists died when a tree fell on them on a highway just north of Visalia, bringing the state’s death toll to at least 17 from the round of storms that began in late December.

The Golden State has been transformed into a land of mudslides, power outages, flooding, closed schools, toppled trees, blocked roads and many other kinds of chaos. (We’ve been cataloging the damage in videos, photos and maps.)

“It’s likely that this is going to be at least several billion dollars” in damage, Jonathan Porter, the chief meteorologist at AccuWeather, told my colleague Christopher Flavelle.

Though the storms are undoubtedly intense, scientists and meteorologists say they still haven’t come close to equaling the intensity of the 1861-62 megastorm, the most severe winter weather crisis in the West Coast’s modern history.

Beginning in late 1861, atmospheric rivers pummeled the West with wave after wave of rain and snow. Swaths of the Central Valley became unbroken expanses of water. Sacramento residents navigated their city’s flooded streets on rafts buoyed by whiskey barrels.

“These storms, while impressive — don’t tell anybody in Santa Barbara they didn’t get hammered by this thing — but it’s just not in the same league as 1861-62, where it encompassed bigger storms over wider areas,” Larry Schick, a meteorologist formerly with the Army Corps of Engineers, told my colleague Raymond Zhong.

Whether we approach those 19th-century records will depend on what comes next. Forecasts say that another storm will hit Northern California on Wednesday, while Southern California will be spared. The state will get a reprieve on Thursday and Friday, but another round of wet weather is expected to strike this weekend and not taper off until perhaps the middle of next week.

See the full forecast for the week.

Tell us: How are the storms affecting you? Email us at with your stories and photos.

Few have faced as stark a challenge in surviving the storms as California’s more than 170,000 homeless residents have.

Today’s tip comes from Merrily Swoboda, who lives in Pittsburgh:

“For decades now, while visiting our daughter in Long Beach, we’ve become fans of El Dorado Regional Park and, especially, its Nature Center and walking trails. The scenic paths there wind through eucalyptus and other groves of (to us) exotic plantings and landscapes. The park’s stream, its beautiful lake, especially, with its many turtles basking on logs, is always a treat — a true ‘oasis’ in the midst of an urban environment that is a local treasure!”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

The stations of San Francisco’s new Central Subway, which stretches from Chinatown to the South of Market area, are showplaces for a series of public art installations that tell the stories of their neighborhoods.

“We have suddenly found ourselves as the owners of one of the most extraordinary art collections in transit anywhere in the world,” Jeffrey Tumlin, the director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, told The San Francisco Chronicle.

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