• Governor Gavin Newsom declares state of emergency in several counties as US state prepares for heavy rainfall.

California (Agencies): California is battening down the hatches with another fierce winter storm poised to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to the western US state, the latest in a series of “atmospheric rivers” that have pummelled residents over the last several months.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for 21 counties in anticipation of potential flooding and disruptions on Thursday. Mountain communities, already struggling to cope with extreme snowfall, could be further inundated.

“The state is working around the clock with local partners to deploy life-saving equipment and first responders to communities across California,” Newsom said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“With more dangerous storms on the horizon, we’ll continue to mobilize every available resource to protect Californians.”

While the onslaught of storms has helped boost California’s water supply, stretched thin by years of extreme drought, it also has caused destruction and hardship across the state.

At least 20 people have died as a result of earlier storms, and residents of some mountain communities have been stranded as snow blocked roads.

The upcoming storm is known as a “pineapple express”, resulting from a buildup of moisture in the Pacific around Hawaii that can bring heavy rainfall to the west coast of the United States and Canada.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said that more than 15 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento region were under excessive rainfall and flood advisories.

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