A formidable California storm, propelled by an atmospheric river, unleashed chaos across Southern California on Monday, triggering widespread flooding, mudslides, and power outages and prompting evacuation orders in several areas.
Approximately 1.4 million residents in the Los Angeles vicinity, including those in the Hollywood and Beverly Hills areas, were under a flash flood warning on Monday morning due to the California storm. The region has already seen up to 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain, with more anticipated. The National Weather Service highlighted the severe risk of flash flooding and mudslides, marking the situation difficult due to the California storm.
Keki Mingus, residing in Los Angeles’ Studio City, recounted a late Sunday alert about a neighbor’s house being overwhelmed by mud, rocks, and water, turning the vicinity into a makeshift river. “It’s unbelievable…I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mingus stated.
Los Angeles experienced a record-breaking rainfall on Sunday, with downtown areas receiving 4.1 inches (10.41 centimeters) of rain, surpassing the previous 1927 record. It was one of the wettest days in the city’s recorded history.
The storm’s impact was felt in Northern California, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, where streets were flooded, trees and power lines toppled, and winds reached over 60 mph (96 kph). San Jose witnessed dramatic rescues from floodwaters, and Yuba City reported a tragic incident where a man was found deceased under a fallen redwood tree.
As the storm progressed into Southern California, officials warned of catastrophic flooding, especially in areas recently affected by wildfires, heightening the risk of mud and debris flows. “We’ve seen a wide range of damages and evacuations due to mudslides,” noted meteorologist Todd Hall.
Still recovering from the 2018 mudslides, Santa Barbara County saw school closures on Monday. In Ventura, residents struggled with flooded streets and immobilized vehicles. The state grappled with power outages affecting over 543,000 customers.
Ski resorts anticipated significant snowfall, with Palisades Tahoe expecting one of the season’s heaviest snow dumps. The state was on high alert, bracing for more severe weather conditions as the atmospheric river poured.
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in multiple counties, and the state’s emergency services were fully mobilized to respond to the unfolding crisis. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced that most schools would remain open, with a few exceptions due to the severe weather conditions.
With the storm expected to persist, officials urged residents to take precautions and heed evacuation orders, emphasizing the importance of safety in the face of this relentless weather onslaught.