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Mudslide ransacks homes in Sausalito as an atmospheric river fuels flooding across California

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
February 15, 2019, 7:06:56 PM EST

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

Firefighter/paramedic Patrick Young with the Southern Marin Fire Department looks out over the aftermath of a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Feb. 14.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

A debris trail is seen in the aftermath of a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

Cars and a large tree are seen in a debris trail in the aftermath of a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

A rescue worker sifts through a debris trail in the aftermath of a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

Numerous mudslides and downed trees along State Route 26 near Mokelumne Hill, California. (Photo/Caltrans District 10)

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

A smashed portion of a home is seen in the aftermath of a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

Workers look out over the debris left in the aftermath of a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

(Photo/Marin County Sheriff's Office)

A home was destroyed early Thursday morning, Feb. 14, 2019 in Sausalito, California.

(Photo/City of Palm Springs)

Floodwaters rushing off of Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Springs, California.

(Photo/CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department)

A house in danger of collapsing due to nearby flood waters running off of the Holy Fire burn scar.

(Photo/Mt. Baldy Fire Department)

Flooding sparked road closures in Mt Baldy, California, on Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Marin County Sheriff's Office)

A home was destroyed early Thursday morning, Feb. 14, 2019 in Sausalito, California.

(Photo/Marin County Sheriff's Office)

A home was destroyed early Thursday morning, Feb. 14, 2019 in Sausalito, California.

(Photo/@Engineeringdad)

A tree fell onto a fence amid flooding rain on Thursday in Temecula, California.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

Water from recent heavy rain storms breech a levee and flows under railroad tracks in Novato, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

A rainbow is seen above flooded fields after water from recent heavy rain storms breeched a levee in Novato, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michael Short)

A fallen tree that was downed by recent severe weather is reflected in a large puddle along with the Golden Gate Bridge in the Horseshoe Bay parking lot in Sausalito, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


A major winter storm fueled by an atmospheric river that had been battering California since Tuesday night, triggered mudslides, severe flooding and water rescues across the state on Thursday.

Flooding impacts were felt from areas north of the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego county. In some locations, entire chunks of highways were washed away.

Two homes were destroyed and at least 50 others were evacuated after a mudslide occurred in a neighborhood in Sausalito, California, Thursday morning, KRON4 reported. Sausalito is located in Marin County, California, about a half hour north of San Francisco.

One woman was hospitalized with injuries but is expected to recover, according to ABC7.


Early Thursday morning, the Marin County Sheriff's Office received a report from a resident about a mudslide and a home that slid off from Sausalito Blvd into a home on Crescent Avenue.

"One of our deputies was able to talk to a woman that was inside the home that slid off the hill. The woman was trapped inside and could not get out. The deputy talked to her and attempted to keep her calm," the Marin County Sheriff's Office wrote in a Facebook post.

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The local fire department responded to the call and was able to remove the woman from under the rubble. Meanwhile, the other home was vacant, and no serious injuries were reported.

"We are so grateful the woman is okay, and we want to thank the Fire Department for saving this woman from what could have been a terrible tragedy," the Marin County Sheriff's Office writes in the post.

Police later evacuated everyone from the base of the mudslide because of natural gas buildup in one of the homes. Officials are on the scene working to shut off the gas, NBC Bay Area Reporter Bob Redell said in a tweet.

Red Cross volunteers are opening an evacuation center at Southern Marin Fire Protection District Station 1 in Sausalito, Red Cross Bay Area said in a tweet.


Heavy rain also spread into Arizona and southern Nevada. Four people were rescued in Las Vegas after rushing water trapped them under a bridge.

Palm Springs, California, recorded its third rainiest day on record with over 3.7 inches falling in the city as of Thursday afternoon. The last time the city saw that much rain fall in one day was in 1943. The city's yearly rainfall average is 5.85 inches.

In addition to the record rainfall, howling winds whipped through the higher elevations of California with several mountain peaks clocking winds over 100 mph.

windgusts214a.jpg


Lingering showers on Friday through the weekend will bring around another half an inch of rain around the Sausalito area, said AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel.

Flash flooding, toppled trees, sinkholes and downed light poles have also been reported in the South Bay area as a result of the storm moving through.

washout

Highway 243 became impassable near Lake Fulmore, California, on Thursday after flood waters washed away part of the road. (Photo/Caltrans District 8)


Local rivers are flowing with force in the area. Many cities in the Bay Area and surrounding counties are experiencing localized flooding.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that a levee breached in the Novato area, sending a torrent of water toward a field near State Route 37. The flooding could force the closure of State Route 37 between Highway 101 and Atherton Avenue, NBC Bay Area reports.


Areas farther south in California have also experienced mudslides and flash flooding as a result of the storm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that excessive rainfall in Southern California could create shallow mud and debris flows near the burn scars of the Woolsey Fire, Stone, Creek and La Tuna Fire.

Widespread street flooding has been reported throughout the Los Angeles metro area.

Water rescues were carried out by helicopter after flooding swept through Cabazon, California. Additional water rescues were reported in the town of Riverside.

Evacuations were issued for thousands of homes around the Lake Elsinore, Carona and Trabuco Canyon area, according to CBS Los Angeles.

In Las Vegas, a new rainfall record was set for Valentine's Day.


Even more snow fell over the Sierra Nevada, adding to the already snow-covered mountains. The difference in snow cover compared to last winter is easily detectable by satellite imagery.

February California snowpack gif

Satellite imagery of California on Feb. 15, 2018 and Feb. 11, 2019. This year features significantly more snow across the mountains of California and Nevada. (Images/NASA Worldview)

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