Over 400,000 customers in the United States are without power as a result of bicoastal storms that brought rain, snow, flooding, and high winds.
On Tuesday, rivers in California overflowed and mudslides occurred. A state of emergency has been declared in 40 of the state’s 58 counties.
Some areas of New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts have received up to three feet of snow.
Storms on both coasts abated early Wednesday, but the damage was extensive.
By late Wednesday morning, 189,492 customers in California were without power, according to Poweroutage.us, while another 165,249 customers across New Hampshire, Maine, New York and Massachusetts endured the same.
The storm that swept along the north-east brought mounds of snow, downed power lines and toppled trees – one of which nearly flattened a parked car in the Bronx – and had winds recorded over 40mph (64km/h). Hundreds of schools and businesses in the region were closed.
New York state and multiple counties in New Jersey issued states of emergency that lasted into Wednesday morning.
In Derry, New Hampshire, a child was struck and pinned down beneath a snow-covered tree knocked over by fierce winds, the Derry Fire Department said in a Facebook post. Through a mix of chainsaws and shovels, “16 firefighters and three police officers worked for 19 minutes to free the child from underneath the tree”, the department said. The child was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
On the west coast, where a series of storms have hit California since the start of the year, saturated soils have created hazardous conditions for residents.
A mudslide in Placer County caused severe damage to a home sunk nearly to its roof in mud, according to the local fire department.
California is experiencing its eleventh atmospheric river since December. The weather phenomenon happens when water evaporates into the air and is carried along by the wind, forming long currents that flow in the sky like rivers flow on land, causing heavy downpours.
By sunset on Tuesday evening, rivers had overflowed and some roads were impassable. Workers laboured to repair a recently breached levee in Monterey County, where 21,000 people were under evacuation order.
High winds also plagued the state. Nearly 15 million people were under a high-wind warning on Tuesday as hurricane-force winds in multiple counties exceeded 90mph, CNN reported.
Californians on Wednesday can expect a slight respite, but it will not last long, the National Weather Service warned.
“After this latest high-impact atmospheric river sweeps through California by Wednesday, a few days of relief from any heavy precipitation is expected,” the NWS Prediction Center tweeted. “However, the extended range outlook from the Climate Prediction Center forecasts another atmospheric river arriving next week.”