This weekend’s weather forecast holds more of the same for California: dangerous and destructive rain.

At least 19 people have died in the storms battering the state since the turn of the new year, the Los Angeles Times reported, and that number is likely to rise, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. Among the dead is a 43-year-old woman found Wednesday in a car submerged under 10 feet of water near Forestville a day after she called 911 to report she was trapped in floodwaters north of San Francisco.

A 5-year-old swept away by floods Monday in San Luis Obispo County still had not been found Wednesday, although more than 100 California National Guard members, and soldiers with the 270th Military Police Company were aiding in the search for Kyle Doan, according to AccuWeather.

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More rain is headed for California. (AccuWeather)

“The relentless parade of cyclones that have been targeting California in the past week is forecast to shift focus and impact areas farther to the north,” the National Weather Service said, adding northwestern California had the highest chance of excessive rain.

“By Friday night, this somewhat stagnant pattern will show signs of breaking down, allowing the next Pacific cyclone to direct yet another surge of atmospheric river toward California by Saturday morning.”

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The state has been hit by seven storms since the end of December and two more slightly weaker ones were expected before a reprieve by late next week.

“The challenge is they’re storms eight and nine in the sequence and the cumulative effect is likely to cause impacts larger than the storms themselves might cause,” said Michael Anderson, climatologist with the Department of Water Resources.

An atmospheric river dropped over a month’s worth of rain in a single day earlier this week, according to AccuWeather.

“More precipitation is expected to spread across the majority of California again on Saturday,” meteorologist Joseph Bauer told AccuWeather.

Rain is forecast to continue in California. (AccuWeather)

More than half of California’s 58 counties were declared disaster areas and repairing the damage may cost more than $1 billion, said Brian Ferguson, spokesperson for the state Office of Emergency Services. AccuWeather estimated the total damage and economic loss could be as high as $34 billion. President Joe Biden on Monday declared an emergency in California, allowing for federal disaster relief.

Effects of the rain include sinkholes, uprooted trees, roofs blowing away, collapsed hillsides, roads closed by rockslides or flooding, and the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. Despite the precipitation, most of the state remained in extreme or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“The soil is basically like a sponge, and at some point he can’t hold any more water and trees become essentially almost buoyant in the soil and very loose,” arborist Remy Hummer said. “And then you get the combinations of high winds and that’s when you get tree failures, meaning full trees uprooting and falling over.”

Santa Maria resident Martin Becerra was trapped for over 20 hours on the closed and mud-covered Highway 101, according to AccuWeather.

“We [are] kind of tired, but we know we’re not the only ones,” Becerra told AccuWeather. “There [are] thousands of people the same as us.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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