Watch CBS News

Bomb cyclone and atmospheric river lash Northern California

get the free app
  • link copied
"Bomb cyclone" slams the West Coast 01:36

A massive bomb cyclone and atmospheric river slammed into Northern California on Sunday, bringing flash floods and debris flows along the burn scars from this summer's fires. Winds blew through the San Francisco Bay Area at more than 50 mph, and in the Marin County community of Kentfield, more than 7 inches of rain fell at 8:30 a.m. PT, CBS San Francisco reported.

The atmospheric river — a band carrying more water vapor than the surrounding air — was elevated to a Category 5, the highest designation on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Extreme Weather Lab scale.

There were evacuation orders issued for hundreds of homes in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire burn scar zone in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Debris and ash leftover from fires can cause mudslides or lead to severe flooding. 

There were at least two evacuation centers set up in Sacramento on Sunday.

Caltrans, the agency that manages the state's highway system, tweeted that there had already been "flooding, rock slides, chain controls, overturned vehicles" on Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service retweeted photos of a landslide along Highway 70 near Tobin, California. There were other road closures as well from flash floods, rock slides and downed trees. 

The storm arrived earlier than expected and rainfall is expected to continue until Tuesday. Sunday is supposed to be the worst of the storm.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of one of the affected communities. It is Kentfield.


"Potential debris flows" lead authorities to issue evacuation order

Parts of Colfax, California, northeast of Sacramento, are under an evacuation order, the Placer County Sheriff's Office said on social media. The sheriff's office said the order was issued "due to potential debris flows from high amounts of rain in the River Fire burn area."

In August, the River Fire burned more than 2,600 acres in Nevada and Placer counties, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

By Alex Sundby

Evacuation order issued for area hit by massive wildfire

An evacuation order was issued for an area scarred by a massive wildfire last year. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said on social media the order applies to parts of Big Creek Canyon.

The sheriff's office said the entire burn scar area from last year's Creek Fire was placed into "evacuation warning status."

By Alex Sundby

Residents warned of flooding where fires once burned

Santa Rosa, where some residents are still recovering from last year's Glass Fire, was under a flash flood warning Sunday as pounding rain and winds swept into California. The National Weather Service upgraded the area's flash flood watch to a warning because of "current rainfall rates and the potential for debris flows in the 2020 Glass Fire burn scar area," the Santa Rosa Fire Department said.

The department tweeted a video of streets and creeks flooding in the city Sunday.

By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

Hundreds of thousands without power on West Coast

More than 168,000 people in California were without power Sunday along with nearly 172,000 in Washington state and more than 30,000 in Oregon, according to

Utility company PG&E said as of 2:15 p.m. PT more than 130,000 customers were without power in the Bay Area, including 50,576 in the North Bay, 43,556 on the Peninsula, 21,773 in the East Bay, 7,523 in the South Bay and 7,234 in San Francisco, CBS San Francisco reports.

By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

Storm creates eerie hum on Golden Gate Bridge

High winds rushing through a handrail on the Golden Gate Bridge have created an eerie hum that can be heard for miles, CBS San Francisco reports. The handrail was retrofitted last year. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 70 mph on peaks and 40-50 mph in low-lying areas as Sunday's storm hit the region.

By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

Evacuations ordered for fire-ravaged area hit by heavy rainfall

The Fresno Sheriff's office issued evacuation orders Sunday for Shaver Lake, part of the burn area for the Creek Fire. The rest of the burn area was under an evacuation warning. 

By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

9 inches of rain deluge one Bay Area town

The heaviest-hit town in the Bay Area was Kentfield in Marin County, which saw 9 inches of rainfall as of noon local time, reports CBS San Francisco. The National Weather Service predicted the area would get between 1 and 2 more inches of rain Sunday afternoon. Other areas of the North Bay, such as Napa and Santa Rosa, received more than 4 inches, reported meteorologist Darren Peck on CBSN Bay Area.

By Allison Elyse Gualtieri

PG&E reports heavy outages

Utility service PG&E reported heavy outages late Sunday morning, with more than 40,000 without power in the north Bay Area in the counties of Marin and Sonoma. The North Valley division also had more than 10,000 customers impacted.

By Caroline Linton

Outlaw Music Festival music festival in Sacramento is canceled

The Outlaw Music Festival in Wheatland at the Toyota Amphitheater, with Willie Nelson scheduled to perform, was canceled Sunday as the area was lashed by the massive storm. 

Organizers said in a statement tickets were being refunded and the concert was unlikely to be rescheduled.

The Ironman triathlon was also canceled on Sunday. 

By Caroline Linton
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.