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Rare weather event leaves California battered and soaked

Rain. Wind. Bomb Cyclone. "Fujiwhara Effect." It's been a wild weather week in California. Again.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Even in an unusually cold and wet winter season, the storm that hit California on Tuesday — officially the second day of spring — stood out.

For one thing, there was the "double barreled storm" that blew over the San Francisco Bay Area — a rare weather event known as the Fujiwhara Effect, in which two nearby hurricanes spinning in the same direction "begin an intense dance around their common center," according to the National Weather Service. The strange storm sent winds of up to 60 to 70 mph throughout Northern California, knocking over trees and power lines and triggering evacuation warnings that affected nearly 50,000 residents throughout the state.

At least one person died, killed by a fallen tree in Portola Valley. Falling trees caused a number of injuries in the Bay Area. A San Francisco County supervisor tweeted that high winds had broken windows in skyscrapers, sending broken glass falling into the street.

The high winds were caused by what UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain called a "bomb cyclone," when a rapid drop in air pressure causes extremely high winds.

Southern California got soaked too. Downtown Los Angeles saw 1.43 inches of rain, breaking a 130-year record for March 21.

"We’re continuing to mobilize an all-hands-on-deck response to protect Californians during this latest round of devastating storms,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement Wednesday. “With communities from San Diego to Siskiyou County reeling from recent storms, the state is working closely with federal and local partners to provide immediate relief and support the ongoing recovery.”

Multiple flood advisories were issued up and down the state as the rain continued into Wednesday. According to PowerOutage.US, more than 110,000 customers in California were without power in Wednesday afternoon, most of them in Alameda and San Mateo counties.

Tornado warnings went up throughout the state Wednesday. In Montebello, just east of Los Angeles, a landspout — essentially a weak tornado — formed and tore roof shingles off of a few industrial buildings, damaging cars and injuring at least one person, according to the ABC affiliate in LA.

So far this year, Los Angeles has been hit with more rainfall than has Seattle. And water weary Angelenos hoping for a respite are in for a rude surprise: another storm is set to hit the southland next week.

"We’ve got another system, it looks like its going to hit next week, Tuesday or Wednesday," said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. "So we’re not quite done yet."

Categories:Regional, Weather

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