Officials said the storm has caused mudslides that have disrupted traffic. Photo courtesy of California Department of Transportation/Twitter
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Drought-ridden California was inundated with heavy rains and strong winds on Sunday and overnight by a large storm swirling off the western coast of the United States, causing mudslides, landslides and flash floods, prompting officials to issue evacuation orders.
The National Weather Service warned of "potentially historic rain" for downtown Sacramento, forecasting 4.86 inches would fall over Sunday, the second most after 5.28 inches fell on April 20, 1880.
"A strong storm off the Pacific Northwest will continue directing a stream of heavy rain, high elevation snow and gusty to high winds over much of northern California, the Sierra Nevadas and the Great Basin Monday," the NWS tweeted Sunday night.
The storm -- a bomb cyclone, which the National Ocean Service said occurs when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies as its central atmospheric pressure rapidly drops -- has knocked out power to more than 131,000 customers in the state and nearly 105,000 in Washington as of late Sunday, according to poweroutage.us.
Flash flood watches were in effect Sunday night for the Bay Area with some stretching into Monday morning, especially for burn scars created during recent wildfires.
The Grizzly Flats, Nevada County, Placer County and the cities of Chester, Greenville and Crescent Mills were among the areas under flash flood warnings into Monday.
Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Placer County and San Mateo County, while the San Francisco Fire Department ordered residents of a one-block area to evacuate as three structures were threatened by a leaning tree.
Meanwhile, the entire Creek Fire burn scar has been ordered to evacuate as has the region from Big Creek Canyon to San Joaquin River.
"If you are in the vicinity of a recent burn scar and haven't already, PREPARE NOW for likely debris flows," the NWS Sacramento tweeted. "If you are told to evacuate by local officials, or you feel threatened, DO NOT HESITATE to do so. If it is too late to evacuate, get to high ground."
Officials with the California Department of Transportation have reported flooding in the Sacramento area with crews deployed to roads and highways to deal with debris and mudslides disrupting traffic and causing routes to close.
In Oroville city, located in Butte County, the California Highway Patrol ordered people to stay home.
"We have already had several collisions this morning for vehicles hydroplaning, numerous trees falling and several roadways that are experiencing flooding," it tweeted.
In Marine County, flood sirens blared Sunday afternoon as Creek River was staring to crest.
Authorities in Santa Clara County were deploying to "numerous and widespread" reports of downed trees and wires. A car was hit by a downed tree though no one was injured, the fire department said.
In Washington state, at least two people were killed when the storm downed a tree onto their car as they were driving, Sgt. Tim Meyer of the King County Sheriff's Office told The Seattle Times.
The storm comes almost a week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded a drought emergency nationwide as the state is experiencing its worst drought since the 1800s.