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More rain in store after 5 killed in California storms

A drenched Northern California will get more heavy rainfall into Wednesday, renewing fears about flooding in the region.

The new onslaught of rain comes as Southern California dries out following downpours that left five people dead.

In Northern California, storms started overnight Saturday, with 2 to 4 inches of widespread rain expected, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said. Some areas may get up to 10 inches and the driving rain could drastically reduce visibility, Chinchar warned.

National Weather Service said the storms carried a threat of flooding, mudslides and dangerous travel.

What’s coming

The brunt of the next storm system was predicted to hit the West Coast on Sunday afternoon. Forecasters expect heavy rain throughout Monday for much of Northern California. Another storm is expected to hit the area Tuesday into Wednesday.

Northern California is already soaked from heavy rains that have pummeled the state since early January. Additional stress on levees, dams, rivers, creeks and streams is expected.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento on Sunday was advising all residents in Northern California’s interior to prepare for flooding and possible evacuations.

Oroville Dam

Officials are keeping an eye on the Oroville Dam after authorities last week ordered mandatory evacuations over concerns that an emergency spillway could fail and threaten nearby communities.

But residents have since returned home, and officials are feeling comfortable about the situation despite the forecast rain.

“We’re looking very good. Our crews continue to fill holes in the emergency spillway,” said Richard Cordova of Cal Fire.

The amount of water flowing into Lake Oroville is much less than the water allowed to flow out through a primary spillway in the dam.

Authorities have even reduced the outflow by 30%, allowing crews to clean up debris below the dam, the tallest in the United States.

Winter storm warnings

Power went out and cars were submerged in Southern California after the region experienced one of its most drenching storms in recent years. At least five people died.

In Victorville, San Bernardino County, one person was found dead Friday in a flooded vehicle, firefighters said. A second storm victim, a 55-year-old man, was electrocuted when a power line fell Friday in Sherman Oaks, west of downtown Los Angeles, the fire department said.

On Saturday, the Thousand Oaks Police Department said a body was recovered from a river gorge. Police didn’t give any details.

Two people died Saturday evening after an accident in San Diego on Interstate 15, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Nicole Pacheco told CNN.

Rainfall totals by the National Weather Service showed parts of Santa Barbara County had seen more than 7 inches of rain in two days. Parts of Ventura County saw more than 6 inches.

The storm has also blanketed higher elevations with snow.

Record rainfall

With more rain expected, some cities in the Pacific Northwest have already seen some of their wettest Februarys ever.

Seattle is already at its fifth-wettest February.
Portland, Oregon and Spokane, Washington are at their sixth.
Salem, Oregon is at its seventh.