Good morning, and happy new year. It’s Tuesday, Jan. 3.
- Forecasters warn residents to prepare for new deluge.
- Kevin McCarthy faces uncertain House speaker vote.
- And four people survive car plunge from Devil’s Slide.
Communities across Northern California are bracing for another powerful storm after a New Year’s Eve deluge broke levees along the Cosumnes and Mokelumne rivers near Sacramento, causing widespread flooding and power outages. Forecasters said intense rain and wind on Wednesday and Thursday would strain creeks and rivers across the already waterlogged region. The Bay Area office of the National Weather Service issued a stark warning: “To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while.” Sacramento Bee | Mercury News | Accuweather
A surveillance plane captured dramatic video Sunday and Monday of flooded areas along the Cosumnes River. See views of:
Further north, the rains made for some happy trees. Kevin LoMiglio shared this view of Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Dec. 30. 👇
Opening day in the House of Representatives, scheduled today, normally features promises that a new Congress will work better than the last. But it could descend into chaos if hard-right lawmakers follow through on vows to oppose Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s candidacy for House speaker. Brendan Buck, who worked for the last two Republican House speakers, said McCarthy’s rivals know they are outnumbered: “But the agitators’ objective isn’t to win the speakership for one of their own; it is to weaken Mr. McCarthy or whoever emerges as the next speaker of the House. The embarrassment indeed may be the point.” N.Y. Times
While Gov. Gavin Newsom is often portrayed as a socialist on Fox News, he has become a counterbalance to the state’s deep blue Legislature on economic matters. He’s worked with Republicans to keep power plants running and vehemently opposed a tax increase on wealthy Californians. The reporter Jeremy B. White reviewed Newsom’s record and conducted dozens of interviews with people who have followed his career. His conclusion: Newsom is at heart a pro-business centrist. Politico
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that while the U.S. population expanded in 2022, California’s fell by roughly 114,000 people. The trend has been blamed on politics, taxes, and pandemic policies. But Darrell Owens, a policy analyst at California YIMBY, said it’s all about housing. California has fewer homes per person than nearly every other state, he noted: “Southern states building tremendous amounts of housing … like Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia now lead the country in population growth.” Discourse Lounge | S.F. Chronicle
A Tesla sedan carrying four people on Monday plunged from the cliff-hugging stretch of Highway 1 known as Devil’s Slide just south of San Francisco, crashing onto the beach 250 feet below. Incredibly, they all survived. Officials said the cause of the crash was unclear but they don’t believe road conditions or the vehicle’s autopilot system were factors. Brian Pottenger, a first responder, said he was stunned to find the victims — two adults, a 9-year-old boy, and a 4-year-old girl — alive. “This was an absolute miracle,” he said. A.P. | S.F. Chronicle
See dramatic rescue video. 👉 @henrykleeKTVU
The actor Jeremy Renner was in critical but stable condition after suffering traumatic injuries while plowing snow in Nevada, several reports said. A neighbor told TMZ that a Snowcat plow ran over one of Renner’s legs. Renner, born and raised in Modesto, has a house near Mount Rose Ski Tahoe, in the Tahoe region, according to The Reno-Gazette Journal. He has posted several updates to social media about clearing heavy snow. CNN | TMZ
For generations, Northern California’s Karuk tribe held a coming-of-age ceremony that takes place after girls have their first period. Known as “Ihuk,” or Flower Dance, the tradition fell dormant for a century after the wave of anti-Indigenous violence that accompanied the Gold Rush. “Long Line of Ladies,” a beautifully done short documentary on the revival of ceremony, has been a hit on the film festival circuit over the last year. The New York Times has now premiered the film online. Vimeo (~22 mins)
“We do not submit this request lightly.”
Mono Lake was supposed to have been saved by now. In 1994, after a lengthy environmental campaign, state regulators put caps on how much water Los Angeles could import from the receding Eastern Sierra lake. Yet it remains about 40 feet below the level it was before Los Angeles began drawing its water in the 1940s. Now the state is reviewing an environmental group’s request that the city be forced to cease diversions. L.A. Times
About 1,100 warehouses have been constructed across Southern California since 2010, encompassing nearly 20 square miles, according to a new data tool. The boom, concentrated primarily in the Inland Empire, has transformed a region once known for orange groves and cattle ranches into a sea of warehouses, trucks, and pollution, displacing schools and whole neighborhoods. “It feels like the area is getting suffocated,” said Juan Díaz, a Bloomington resident. The Guardian
Guru Jagat, born as Katie Griggs, ran a yoga studio in Venice Beach where she instructed celebrities such as Alicia Keys and Kate Hudson. She was seen as edgy, someone who could chant in Sanskrit and talk about sex and fashion in class. But during the pandemic she began riffing on other ideas: the government wanted everyone at home and the coronavirus was being sprayed from airplanes. Soon it became clear Jagat had plunged into what’s been described as the “wellness to QAnon pipeline.” NPR
Pasadena played host to the 134th Rose Parade on Monday. In a somber moment, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department led a riderless horse along the route in tribute to the fallen deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was shot and killed by a driver during a traffic stop in Jurupa Valley last Thursday. Torrance Daily Breeze
Rose Parade photos. 👉 L.A. Times
Here’s a quick catch-up on news you may have missed from the past week:
- A landlord sued Twitter for nonpayment of office rent in San Francisco. Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg
- An appeals court sided with opponents of UC Berkeley’s plan to turn People’s Park into student housing. Mercury News | SFist
- A man suspected in Northern California serial killings was charged in four additional murders, bringing the total to seven deaths. A.P. | Sacramento Bee
- An updated fire risk map showed more than half of rural California is facing “very high” fire hazards. L.A. Times
- An extremely rare snowy owl made a surprise appearance in Orange County, transfixing bird watchers and neighbors. N.Y. Times | O.C. Register
An earlier version of this newsletter misspelled the name of a California river. It’s the Mokelumne River, not Mokelume.
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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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