California’s Record-Breaking Snow And Rain

California has experienced a mix of storms and snowfall for the past few days, flooding some towns and snowing at higher altitudes. Wind gusts and freezing temperatures have been reported in certain areas, creating dangerous conditions across the state.

The Associated Press reported flash flooding in Ventura County early Saturday morning after over 7 inches of rain. Excess rain flooded highways, stranding vehicles. LAFD ground and air rescuers rescued four persons and five animals from the Encino floods on Saturday morning. Two were hospitalized for hypothermia. Other people and five animals were unharmed.

When a Friday ground stop was announced for Los Angeles International Airport, it stopped all planes leaving and arriving from most of Southern California. ABC7 reporter Brittany Silverstein reports that some arriving planes were rerouted to Ontario International Airport, located about 55 miles to the east, due to the standstill. By 1 AM PST on Saturday, the restriction had been lifted.

During Friday and Saturday mornings, more than 100,000 people in the state were without power. The biggest concentration of outages was in Los Angeles County, with 26,770 people without electricity on Saturday. As of Monday afternoon, there were still more than 50,000 people in the state without power.

Several roadways around the state were also damaged by the floods, including sections of Interstate 5 that were blocked early Saturday morning because of a combination of icy and water-logged conditions.

Severe weather forecaster Reed Timmer spent Friday afternoon in the highlands above Pasadena, California, and saw water spilling off the hillsides and moving into the Los Angeles region. Timmer was standing next to a dry region that had become a roaring river after receiving several inches of rain in a little over a day.

All of these washes have been completely wiped off by flooding. Usually, they are dry, Timmer said.

Friday was the wettest February day in Los Angeles since February 12, 2003, when 2.45 inches rained, according to the official rain gauge. The annual average precipitation for the previous three Februarys was just 0.10 inches, making the rainfall on a single day more than a hundred times larger.

When an embankment collapsed 30 miles northwest of Santa Clarita, rapid floods took away many campers. One camper was observed lying on its side.

Although snow is more common at higher altitudes, a few flakes were seen Friday and Saturday in lower altitudes.

Several tree branches collapsed under the weight of heavy snow at the lower altitudes, and in severe circumstances, whole trees fell. 

Heavy snowfall on Monday prevented residents in mountain communities from getting home, leading San Bernardino County to declare a local emergency. Through this declaration, the state and federal governments are asked to assist in removing snow from roads and sidewalks in the mountains. 

Snow Valley, in California, experienced 66 inches of snow between Wednesday and Saturday. Other mountain towns in the state received much more. More than 50 inches of snow fell on Bear Mountain and Soda Springs together. It snowed 57 inches on Bear Mountain and nearly 100 inches throughout the week. In an interview with The Epoch Times published on Friday, Big Bear Mountain ski resort spokesperson Justin Kern said the snowfall this week has been more than the annual norm.

Several highways were closed on Friday for those trying to travel through the mountains, including Interstate 80, which was closed twice at Donner Pass. Several accidents on Friday evening caused the reversal of all westbound lanes of the highway near the Nevada state border. Snow and fallen trees also blocked State Highway 17 in California, which connects Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

At two spots throughout the state, gusts of wind reached above 90 miles per hour due to the storm. On Friday afternoon, a wind gust of 98 miles per hour was recorded on Mammoth Mountain, making it the highest wind gust in the state. Another place in the state where winds of more than 90 mph were recorded was San Guillermo. High-speed winds of more than 80 miles per hour were recorded at Magic Mountain, Kirkwood, and Pilot Rock.

The state and local governments are trying their best to recover from the damage caused due to rainfall and snowfall. It is hoped that the residents of California soon will be back to their typical life.