California braces for 1-2 punch

By Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin (Originally Published: 1/8/2017 1:29 AM)

(CNN) — Four people died in California over the weekend as a series of storms pounded the state.

One person died and another was hospitalized after being trapped in a car in the water Sunday morning near the Oakland International Airport, CNN affiliate KRON reported, citing fire officials.

Two people died in solo spinout accidents most likely due to the heavy rain in the San Francisco Bay area, California Highway Patrol Officer Custodio Lopez said.

“Both of these accidents are still under investigation so we don’t know for certain it’s from the rain, but they both occurred on wet roadways and were solo spinouts so we believe weather was a factor,” Lopez said.

One accident happened Saturday morning in the Oakland area and the other occurred Saturday night in the Hayward area, Lopez said.

A woman was killed Saturday morning after a tree fell on her at the Canyon Lakes Golf Course in San Ramon, authorities there said.

Flooding is likely in the coming days, forecasters said.

While moderate to heavy storms were predicted to persist through Monday, producing snow in the higher elevations and rising water levels elsewhere, a second storm will pass through the West Coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The rain is expected to melt the snow at the higher elevations, which threatens to overload dams and reservoirs in California. All the gates at the Nimbus Dam near Folsom, California, have been opened to let the water flow downstream.

Along with heavy rain, the National Weather Service forecast mountain snow in the West over the weekend, with flooding likely across central and Northern California, western Nevada and coastal Oregon.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has “declared a state of emergency due to the severe weather system developing in north Nevada and the possible danger to life and property.”

Overall, 24 million people are under a winter weather advisory or warning across the Southeastern United States and in the Northwest, including the Sierras in Northern California.

CNN’s Haley Brink, Judson Jones, Azadeh Ansari, Brandon Miller, Phil Gast, Brandon Griggs, Joe Sutton and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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