New flash flood warnings went up around sodden northern California Saturday as a powerful storm lashed the region with heavy rains and strong, gusty winds.
In what has become a wretched routine, officials warned of new mudslide dangers and drivers battled high winds and flooded roadways in what has become a record-breaking month for wet winter weather.Saturday's storm dumped around half an inch of rain on San Francisco, which has already logged the wettest February since records began in 1849.
Forecasters said another strong storm was due to hit the region late today, bringing even more rain and winds gusting up to 60 mph.
"Monday is going to be real wet, with considerable amounts of rain," said Walter Snell of the National Weather Service. "It looks like these next two storms may be the wettest we have for the next six or eight days."
State officials have estimated that this month's storms, which have been blamed for more than 10 deaths, have caused close to $300 million in damages so far, and predict the bill will rise as more storms arrive.
Much of the blame has been pinned on this year's El Nino phenomenon, the unusual warming of Pacific waters that has altered weather patterns around the globe.
One effect, meteorologists say, has been a southerly shift in the Pacific jet stream, sending winter storms that usually blow over Alaska straight into the California coast.
President Clinton this month declared much of California a federal disaster area, and Vice President Al Gore visited the region Wednesday pledging millions of dollars in federal aid to help storm-ravaged communities.