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Record-breaking "bomb cyclone" shuts down highways and floods parts of Northern California

Bomb cyclone hits the Pacific Northwest
Wind and rain lashes the Pacific Northwest in phenomenon known as a bomb cyclone 03:03

California woke up today to some of its worst weather in years.

Forecasters call it a "bomb cyclone" that's already blasted the Pacific Northwest, killing two people. 

In Northern California, up to ten inches fell in just 24 hours. Some streets are underwater, while areas burned by summer wildfires are covered by mudslides. 

This storm system is massive and violent, reports "CBS Mornings" lead national correspondent David Begnaud, who described the "bomb cyclone" as a band of intense pressure over the Pacific Northwest perfecting the conditions necessary to drop huge amounts of rain in just hours.

Reporting from Carmichael, California, Begnaud says water is receding rapidly, with no major damage to property or lives - that's the good news. 

But the massive storm system lived up to predictions in terms of rainfall, breaking records in the Sacramento area. It unleashed destruction across northern California, uprooting trees and flooding rivers, and turning a creek into a mud-filled torrent.

Our creek is a river

Posted by Gil Michaeli on Sunday, October 24, 2021

In San Rafael, north of San Francisco, there were more than 300 calls for help from fire or police. That's four times the normal average.

Across the region, officials say they might not know the full extent of the damage in recent wildfire areas until later today.

"With the rains and winds coming through, it's anyone's guess as one what's gonna occur," said Batallion Chief Michael Frost, of Marin County Search and Rescue.

One truck was almost pushed over by strong winds on a bridge north of San Francisco.

And on the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, gale-force winds caused vibrations that created an eerie whistle that could be heard for miles.

Farther inland, at the Butte County/Plumas County line, a substantial landslide shut down a major highway, in the same area as this summer's massive Dixie Fire north of Sacramento.  

Highway 70 has been closed indefinitely due to a rockslide.

Highway 70 in Butte County, Calif., has been closed indefinitely due to a rockslide.  CBS News

Roads in the town of Carmichael just east of Sacramento were underwater late Sunday. More than five inches of rain had fallen in the state capitol, breaking the previous record set in 1880.

Meanwhile, in King County, Washington State, a road east of Seattle was closed after a tree fell and crushed a vehicle, killing two people.

Steven Jones, who works nearby, said, "All I can think about right now are their families. Something like, so random, it is just awful."

The storm will come to an end in northern California in the next several hours. It's now heading down toward Southern California, but it will be much weaker, dropping only an inch or so of rain. 

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