California and parts of central Arizona are currently grappling with severe floods caused by heavy rainfall, impacting over 20 million people. This extreme weather event, the most significant since Hurricane Hilary‘s remnants in August, has brought unprecedented rain to the region, leading to widespread floods in Southern California.
Areas such as Oxnard and Santa Barbara have been among the hardest hit by the floods in Southern California, necessitating water rescues and significant emergency response efforts. Oxnard, in Ventura County, witnessed a staggering 3.18 inches of rain within just one hour, far exceeding the average monthly rainfall for the region. Social media images from Oxnard show roads submerged under two feet of water, illustrating the severity of the situation.
Larry Emerson, a resident of Port Hueneme in Ventura County, described the distressing scene as he found his garage inundated, with water reaching about a foot high, causing substantial damage to his belongings. Approximately 60 homes in the area were flooded, including a senior living centre, which had to be evacuated
The Ventura County Fire Department reported receiving around 275 calls in just five hours during the peak of the flooding, a significant increase from their average daily call volume. Andy VanSciver, a public information officer, highlighted the unusual nature of the storm for the Port Hueneme and Oxnard area, emphasizing the extraordinary amount of rain received in a short time.
Forecasters predict that several areas will have accumulated between 5 and 8 inches of rain by the end of the week, with some locations experiencing even higher totals. This persistent rainfall is expected to maintain the risk of flash and urban flooding.
In the mountains of Southern California, rainfall totals have already surpassed 10 inches in some locations. Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo County reported 15.95 inches, while Old Man Mountain in Ventura County recorded 13.70 inches, as per the National Weather Service. Even metropolitan areas like Beverly Hills and Los Angeles’s LAX airport have reported significant rainfall.
As the region braces for more rain, the focus remains on emergency response and safety measures to mitigate the impact of these extreme weather conditions. The situation underscores the increasing challenges such unpredictable and severe weather events pose.