New threats of heavy rain, floods and snow in California and Pacific Northwest

Posted at 5:58 AM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 06:58:46-05

Two drivers in Oregon were killed in a crash that was blamed on icy roads early Monday.

Oregon State Police said two commercial trailers collided and a fire broke out on the Newberg-Dundee Bypass in the northern part of the state near Portland. A third driver was injured in the crash after she was unable to stop her car and hit the back of one of the trailers. The woman was taken to a hospital after sustaining minor injuries.

The Oregon crash comes as cities along the west coast battle dangerous weather conditions. Flooding, mudslides and snow closed several highways in California over the weekend. And widespread rain is expected to continue pouring over the state with new flood threats and heavy mountain snow expected to move in.

The California Department of Transportation reopened the Pacific Coast Highway to traffic Monday from south of Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu to Las Posas Road in Ventura County. Mudslides following a Saturday night storm had "wreaked havoc" on the highway, which took officials two days to clear. However, the department warned drivers that they should still expect "lane blockages as we continue to clear slides & clean drains."

Winds and storm conditions have left thousands of homes in the dark. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District said it has restored power to more than 100,000 customers and is working to restore service to the remaining 3,700.

Heavy rain and flooding

Parts of northern California may see up to 2-4 inches of rain today, which could bring more floods. In the southern part of the state, rain falling over burned areas will pose new threats for flooding, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

That's because the effects of the burning keep water from being soaked into dry ground devoid of vegetation, spurring floods and mudflows, according to CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett.

FEMA warned California residents Monday to take alternate routes to avoid burned areas.

Los Angeles County issued a beach advisory , asking residents to avoid contact with ocean water until Wednesday as it may contain bacteria, debris and other hazards washed down by rain.

About 20 million people are under winter weather warnings and advisories from the Dakotas to Maine, Guy said. Meanwhile precipitation developing over the Great Lakes could bring a round of snow into the Northeast Wednesday.