Firefighters rescue mother giving birth in the middle of flooded California riverbed

Authorities in central California rescued a woman and her newborn baby after the woman had just given birth in a flooded riverbed on Monday. 

According to the City of Lompoc Police Department, officials discovered the woman actively giving birth with the father present at the scene. The child was delivered prematurely with the father's assistance. All of this occurred as they were surrounded by water flowing through the riverbed, authorities say. 

Luckily, all three were rescued and the child was taken to Lompoc Hospital along with the mother. 

Due to the circumstances of the child's birth, police say an investigation has been opened and Child Welfare Services has been notified.

Meanwhile, sinkholes swallowed cars and floodwaters swamped towns and swept away a small boy as California was wracked by more wild winter while the next system in a powerful string of storms loomed on the horizon Tuesday.

Millions of people were under flood warnings, and more than 200,000 homes and businesses were without power because of heavy rains, lightning, hail and landslides. Thousands were ordered to evacuate their homes.

At least 17 people have died from storms that began late last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a visit to the scenic town of Capitola on the Santa Cruz coast that was hard hit by high surf and flooding creek waters last week. The deaths included a pickup truck driver and motorcyclist killed Tuesday morning when a eucalyptus tree fell on them on Highway 99 in the San Joaquin Valley near Visalia, the California Highway Patrol said.

"We’ve had less people die in the last two years of major wildfires in California than have died since New Year’s Day related to this weather," Newsom said. "These conditions are serious and they’re deadly."

The storm that began Monday dumped more than a foot (30 centimeters) of rain at higher elevations in central and Southern California and buried Sierra Nevada ski resorts in more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.