Death Toll From California Storms Hits 14 After Young Boy Is Swept Away, More Cyclones Expected

Carolyn Krueger/via REUTERS

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Intense floods swept away a five-year-old boy in California on Monday, bringing the statewide death toll from extreme weather to 14.

The child and his mother were in a truck on their way to school when the floodwaters hit, according to the BBC. Bystanders were able to pull the mother from the vehicle, but the boy was swept away. Rescue personnel later recovered his shoe.

The death toll from back-to-back weeks of extreme weather for the typically warm and dry state rose from 12 to 14, officials stated, according to the BBC. Some 200,000 Californians were without power on Tuesday and more than 90% under flood watch.

More storms are expected to hit in the coming days, the National Weather Service forecast. The next “atmospheric river” will land on Wednesday, bringing widespread precipitation across the western U.S.

Rainfall totals hit between 400% and 600% of the previous average since the start of 2023, the BBC noted. “We expect to see the worst of it still ahead of us,” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, according to the BBC. “Don’t test fate.” Newsom has also asked President Joe Biden for a disaster declaration to help with recovery, according to a tweet from a local news reporter.

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and actor George Clooney spoke on Monday at a news conference regarding the storms, claiming that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris “have [Californians’] back.” It’s unclear whether Emhoff has taken on a role in the administration, and how Clooney fits into the situation, but the president later issued an emergency declaration, according to CNBC. (RELATED: Footage Shows How Extreme Weather Wreaked Havoc On Lake Tahoe State Park And Surrounding California Regions)

Videos from Felton Grove in the Santa Cruz Mountains showed what appeared to be rescue workers traveling down streets on jet skis as water levels hit well above the half-way point on the first floors of homes. Despite the high rainfall, experts have suggested that it could take many years of consistent rainfall to reverse the two-decade drought in the state, the BBC noted.