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2023 hits Northern California with flooding and landslides, and more could be on the way

Deadly flooding hits California
Severe winter storms trigger deadly flooding in California 02:53

Sacramento — Crews in Northern California were still scrambling early Monday to clean up the disastrous effects of record rainfall before another weather system moves in from the Pacific this week. A New Year's storm brought deadly flooding, high winds and landslides, and a deep layer of heavy snow to some areas, shutting down freeways and stranding drivers.

The immediate concern on Monday morning around Sacramento was breached levees, several of which were threatening to flood more roadways.  

Many residents in Sacramento County were already under evacuation orders after the historic rains breached the levees, with authorities warning that the situation remained "incredibly dangerous."

Massive storms batter California with heavy rain, wind and power outages 02:26

The fear is that swollen rivers could keep rising this week after they overflowed onto nearby roads. First responders rescued at least a dozen people stranded in vehicles over the weekend, with at least one person dying near the town of Wilton after trying to drive through high water.

Neighborhoods across Northern California have been submerged and landslides have blocked roads. Powerful wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour brought trees down on power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark.

Flash flood and landslides in San Francisco Bay Area
A view of landslide on highway 92 West in San Mateo County, as heavy rains hit the West Coast of California, December 31, 2022. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Further south in the San Francisco Bay Area, the iconic Fisherman's Wharf experienced its wettest day in nearly 30 years, and the Oakland Zoo was set to be closed for at least two weeks after a huge sinkhole collapsed at its entrance.

The atmospheric river brought more than eight feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains, shutting down roads and even closing many ski resorts.

As the system heads east through the Rockies, avalanche warnings were already in effect after one skier was killed near Breckenridge, Colorado, and another avalanche was caught on camera from downtown Telluride over the weekend.

First Alert Weather Day Monday for freezing rain and snow 03:37

There was one glimmer of hope brought by all the extreme weather in California, however: The storm system may have provided some desperately needed replenishment of drought-stricken reservoirs and mountain snowpacks.

But meteorologists said it was too early to determine whether this week's storms will have any positive lasting impact.  

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