A downed tree covers a parked vehicle during a winter storm in San Francisco. ReutersForecasters expect another half foot of rain to soak central and northern California and the Sierra Nevada mountains through early Tuesday, coming on the heels of powerful storms that walloped the state and other parts of the U.S. west on Sunday.The drenching rains and blowing snow flooded rivers and shut down roads from mudslides in a state that has struggled with drought for years.From 3 to 8 inches (7.6 to 20 cm) of rain is forecast in the region while several feet (1-2 metres) of snow are likely for higher elevations, said meteorologist Andrew Orrison at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.“We’re going to see heavy rain going into (Monday) evening and early morning,” he said.Heavy snow is expected in Nevada and the northern Rocky Mountains could get several feet of snow over the next day or two.The weather service said almost 40 rivers or creeks in Northern California and western Nevada were flooded or threatened to top their banks. But an emergency agency spokesman said there had been no reports of fatalities or serious damage.Authorities said a section of Interstate 80 near Truckee, southwest of Reno, Nevada, was closed by a mudslide.The upper Napa River north of San Francisco was expected to cause “extreme damage to all towns along the reach,” the California emergency agency said in a statement. Anticipated flooding brought voluntary evacuations in neighboring Sonoma County.Residents of Cambria, near the famous Hearst Castle along California’s central coast, were advised to move to higher ground due a flash flood warning.Several other California highways were closed from landslides or high water. In Washington state, high winds, ice and heavy snow shut roads and created hazardous driving conditions.Iridium Communications said Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company had delayed Monday’s launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 of its satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles. The launch was now set for Saturday.The storm is drawing strength from the interaction between an “atmospheric river,” a plume of water vapor flowing from the tropics toward the West Coast, and a low-pressure area near Oregon, the National Weather Service said.After years of drought, the storm is the latest in a strong wet season for California that began in the autumn. Another front is expected on Tuesday.In an encouraging sign, the U.S. Forest Service said the rain had restored moisture levels in Southern California vegetation to a seasonal normal for the first time in five years.The eastern United States experienced low temperatures on Sunday, the day after a massive storm dumped snow from Georgia to Massachusetts.
Brandon Todd (l) is a Ward 4 candidate, and LaRuby May (r) is a Ward 8 candidate in the April 28 D.C. Council special election. (Photos courtesy of dcyds.org (Todd) and Facebook (May).)The April 28 special election to fill the D.C. Council member positions in Wards 4 and 8 has a number of candidates but the District mayor is out working for this candidates she supports. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has endorsed former council staffer Brandon Todd and former Ward 8 2014 campaign coordinator LaRuby May for the Ward 4 and 8 positions respectively. Bowser vacated the Ward 4 D.C. Council seat in December to assume her mayoral duties and the death of D.C. Council member Marion S. Barry in November opened up his seat.Bowser said that she wants Todd and May to win because they want the District and its residents to prosper. “We share a vision to move the city forward,” the mayor said. “All three of us are committed to closing gaps in housing and education, and supporting economic development. I would also like to note that a number of the present council members share the same agenda.”Terry Goings, a political activist in Ward 4, backs Todd. “He is the best candidate for the job,” Goings said. “He has been working for Muriel for a number of years, he knows the ward and he is an intelligent guy. I think it is important to have a councilman that has the ear of the mayor.”Joan Thomas, a longtime Ward 4 political activist, said Todd has her support because “he can do the job.” Lori Murphy Lee, an attorney in the District, said Todd is a “determined and dedicated individual.”“I know he will be a great representative,” Lee said.Todd held a fundraiser on Jan. 29 in a heated backyard tent at the Ward 4 home of former D.C. Council member Bill Lightfoot and his wife, Cynthia. Bowser was the featured speaker at the Todd fundraiser and emphasized that Todd is a candidate with “high integrity and high ethical standards.”“He has a history of getting things done in Ward 4 and he is going to work hard at city hall,” Bowser said.Political activists and candidates throughout the city attended the fundraiser, including May and, in a surprise appearance, one of her opponents, Christopher Barry. Barry came to the event wearing a Todd button and shook hands with the crowd.“I am here to support Brandon,” Barry said.Barry did not make an appearance at a fundraiser for May on Jan. 31 at the Uniontown Bar and Grill in Ward 8. Bowser headlined the event and praised May highly. “We want someone to represent Ward 8 who is smart, honest, and who is running for the council for the right reasons,” the mayor said. “She will be the best prepared council member from Day One.”May said she wants to help “Ward 8 rise because it is the right thing to do.”Todd faces 13 opponents and May will vie against 15 others. Todd has been endorsed by D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) and May has gained the support of D.C. Council member Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1).Some political observers believe that if Todd and May are elected, they will be sycophants for Bowser on the council. In the case of Todd, Lee disagrees. “Brandon Todd is an independent thinker,” she said. “He will work with the mayor to do what is in the best interest of the ward.”Wain Jenkins attended the May’s event and said that his candidate will be no puppet for the mayor. “I know that some of her opponents are going to try to portray her that way but she is an intelligent, thoughtful person,” Jenkins said.May has a sharp response to those who think she will be a lackey for the mayor. “I am my own person,” she said. “My name is LaRuby May.”