Good morning. It’s Monday, Jan. 9.
- Forecasters warn of widespread flooding risks.
- Kevin McCarthy begins shaky tenure as speaker.
- And a punk performance breaks out on the BART.
“We expect to see the worst of it still ahead of us.”— Gov. Gavin Newsom
After a weekend of turbulent weather and power outages, another damaging atmospheric river was poised to crash ashore late Sunday through Tuesday, packing fierce winds and drenching rain. As a standalone storm, the projected rain and snow would be enough to raise flooding concerns. But Monday’s event is just the latest in a storm train that has been rolling since the end of 2022 and isn’t expected to let up until the middle of the month, said Bob Oravec, a forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center: “Monday will probably be the worst of it, but there is still a whole series of weaker ones after that.” Accuweather | Bloomberg | CNN
See rainfall predictions for:
- North Coast
- Sacramento Valley
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Los Angeles and Central Coast
- San Diego and Inland Empire
More than a dozen monitored river segments are poised to rise to flood stage by Monday night. See forecasts for:
- Russian River in Sonoma County
- Cosumnes River in Sacramento County
- Guadalupe River in Santa Clara County
- Carmel River in Monterey County
- Other rivers
As emergency officials warned people to avoid the rampaging Pacific last week, many Californians made plans to dance on the waves. Surf spots along the coast hosted some of the biggest waves in years between Thursday and Saturday. Surfline chronicled the action, including photos and video of massive sets at La Jolla Cove and a sighting of surf great Kelly Slater in Seal Beach.
Also enjoying the storms: kayakers. S.F. Chronicle
The columnist Mark Z. Barabak on Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to speaker of the House:
“He ceded so much to foes — effective veto power over must-pass legislation, greater say over committee assignments, allowing a sole dissident to trigger a vote on his ouster — that McCarthy will spend his shaky tenure, as long as it lasts, balanced on a razor’s edge. One nick and he’s gone.” L.A. Times
Even in Bakersfield, McCarthy’s hometown, his far-right critics are widespread: “I think it’s great that Matt Gaetz has a group up there that’s bringing attention to what’s wrong,” said William Paulovitz, 78. N.Y. Times
Yosemite is known for its many stunning hikes. But according to regulars, one stands above the rest: the Panorama Trail. The walk is strenuous — 3,200 feet in elevation change across 8 miles — but there’s arguably no better showcase for the park’s most scenic features, such as the view of Half Dome above. One travel site wrote that after walking the trail, “you’ll look back on your life and split it into its ‘before Panorama’ and ‘after Panorama’ periods.” YosemiteHikes.com | Outdoor Project
Elon Musk asked a judge to move his upcoming fraud trial involving his conduct running Tesla out of San Francisco because local jurors would be biased against him. In a court filing, Musk’s lawyers argued that “inflammatory” media coverage and “negativity” among local politicians and the public in Twitter’s hometown made a fair trial impossible. He suggested moving it to western Texas. Wall Street Journal | NBC News
Felix Salmon in Axios: “Elon Musk is doing just fine. His stakes in SpaceX, Tesla, and other concerns have made him the second-richest man in the world. He owns a global social network of awesome power. He’s procreating zealously.”
Before the pandemic, Facebook planned to help alleviate crushing traffic around its headquarters in Menlo Park by reactivating a century-old railroad across the southern end of the San Francisco Bay. Then the company pivoted to remote work and the Dumbarton Rail Bridge project, a dream of transit officials for decades, came undone. Today, as tech workers zoom from their living rooms and Oaxaca courtyards, janitors commute 90 miles each way to service their half-empty offices. N.Y. Times
In a sign of how dire the opioid crisis has become in the Bay Area, it’s become common for regular people to carry Narcan, an overdose reversal nasal spray. Monica Clayton, 36, began carrying the medication after seeing a woman revived outside a Burger King: “I don’t want to watch somebody die,” she said. “So I started carrying it after that, and I used it. I probably went through at least two bottles a month.” L.A. Times
There was a punk performance on the BART Friday night. What started as a half-joke resulted in unbridled chaos as the San Francisco bands False Flag and Surprise Privilege, along with roughly 100 fans, crammed into a blue line train. Things went predictably awry after six stops, when the train was stalled due to an obstructed door. Police entered, one of the bassists recounted, “and were just like, ‘Are you serious right now?'” KQED
New conservative board majorities at two Orange County school districts abruptly ousted their superintendents around the winter holidays. The vote to fire Orange Unified’s superintendent, conducted on a day’s notice behind closed doors last Thursday, has been dubbed the “Thursday night massacre.” The board members behind the move had complained about masks in schools and classroom lessons on race, critical race theory, and gender. O.C. Register | EdSource
South Pasadena is finally banishing its peacocks. After years of impassioned debate, the city hired trapper Jonathan Gonzalez to relocate the city’s more than 100 peacocks — detested for their pooping, squawking, and garden-destroying ways — to private ranches and open spaces throughout the state. Craig Parks, a resident, thinks it’s a shame. “I guess things are going to be a little more drab around here,” he said. L.A. Times
Within an easy drive east of Los Angeles is an alpine getaway that seems a world away. A series of charming towns — Crestline, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead — are nestled along deep blue lakes in the San Bernardino Mountains, where the air is crisp and pine-scented and bald eagles soar overhead. Field Magazine included the Lake Arrowhead home pictured above among its “16 best A-Frame cabin rentals on Airbnb and VRBO.”
Friday’s newsletter misspelled a Bay Area journalist’s name. She is Erica Hellerstein, not Erica Hellerman.
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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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