LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. - Dramatic video showed a California woman being rescued Friday afternoon after she climbed a tree in a desperate attempt to escape raging floodwaters caused by a powerful atmospheric river storm that dropped torrential rain across the state.
According to a tweet from the Orange County Fire Authority, emergency crews were notified of a person hanging onto a tree in a creek with rapidly moving floodwater just before 3:30 p.m. Friday.
The OCFA said it quickly assembled multiple swift water rescue teams, including a 16-member team at the request of California's Office of Emergency Services, to work on a plan to rescue the woman, and included efforts from both the ground and the air.
The video showed a rescuer being lowered from the helicopter slowly in an attempt to reach the terrified woman. The rescuer was then able to secure the woman before they were hoisted into the air. Once the pair reached dry ground, the clearly exhausted woman collapses.
Officials said the woman was reunited with her family a short time later and refused transport to the hospital.
"As the water continues to fill up waterways, we strongly urge everyone to stay away from the water," the OCFA said in a tweet.
Storms lead to widespread destruction across California
On Saturday, President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for California as the state continues to deal with the onslaught of storms and works to clean up the destruction left behind.
Jaw-dropping photos taken by Mark Woodward show portions of West Cliff Road in Santa Cruz, California, washed away by the vicious surf that has chomped at the coast and heavy rain that has been falling across the region.
On Friday, the California Highway Patrol in Santa Cruz shared images of three people who needed to be rescued from a car that was teetering precariously off the edge of a cliff during the severe weather. None of the people inside the car were injured.
California's Office of Emergency Services shared photos after it said the Swift Water and Flood Team 13 was able to help rescue 175 residents that had been impacted by rising floodwaters in San Joaquin County.
Over the past several weeks, the extreme amounts of rain have led to numerous reports of flooding along creeks and rivers up and down the state.
Flooding was also reported in San Diego, where the National Weather Service shared images of a car that had become submerged in water when the San Diego River flooded. Several roads were covered in water when the river overflowed its banks on Monday.