Pics: Southern California hit with unusual snow, heavy rain
Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 3:08 - Flash flood watches were issued for southern California through late Monday, with hail and thunderstorms forecast after a Pacific storm system dropped 4 inches of rain on Los Angeles over three days, the National Weather Service reported.
The agency said the system would bring heavy snow to the state's Sierra Nevada mountains and then move into the Rocky Mountains.
Residents in San Bernardino County enjoyed the unusual snowfall in southern California.
"I haven't seen snow like this in a long time. Honestly, it just looks like pizza sugar dusted all over California," said Kristine Arzate. "We had a drought some years back for a long time, and we got a lot of rain last year, but it's been a while since we had snow like this here," said an unidentified resident.
In an encouraging sign, the U.S. Forest Service said the rain had restored moisture levels in southern California vegetation to a seasonal normal for the first time in five years.
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"Downtown Los Angeles has received 13.52" of rain since Oct 1st 2016 which is 216% of the normal rainfall to date of 6.26," tweeted the Los Angeles National Weather Service office on Sunday.
Los Angeles has received as much as 8” of rain this month, according to the weather station. The deluge has been enough to breathe new life into the L.A. River (see below):
Monday's system was the last of a series of systems impacting the state since last week.
Torrential downpours overwhelmed a levee in a farming area near Hollister, CA Friday, sending flood waters rushing through a breach and swamping farms and homes in the region. This was the second time in two weeks the Lover's Lane area was under water.
On Friday, almost two dozen people had to be rescued after floodwater overwhelmed a campground near Santa Barbara, CNN reported. Floodwaters forced several cabins off their foundation and caused at least 15 cars to crash or get caught in debris. Crews also used cables to rescue one person trapped in a creek the rush of water, mud and debris took campers by surprise, said the news agency.
Strong winds associated with Sunday’s storms downed trees across San Diego. At least 17 people were displaced when a 40-foot tree fell down on an apartment building on East 24th street, reported CNN.
Storms are blamed for two deaths in California as of Monday, Jan 23.
The system brought precipitation in the form of heavy snow across the mountains.
Heavy snow in northern Nevada and the Sierra closed schools throughout the Reno-Sparks area and triggered an avalanche that shut down a California highway just west of Lake Tahoe, according to the Associated Press. The snow also closed portion of Interstate 80 over the Donner Pass west of Truckee, California.
I-80 is currently closed due to heavy snow and zero visibility.— Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) January 23, 2017
No ETO . pic.twitter.com/l3goqKbwcI
"This is the wet winter that makes us cautiously optimistic," Ted Thomas, a spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources, said earlier this month in an interview with Reuters. "[Drought] conditions are improving."
California has been in the grip of drought for five years, leading farmers to fallow a half-million acres 500,000 acres of cropland, and forcing some residents to rely on bottled water for drinking. But the storms that have swept through the state since early autumn have released more than 40 percent of the state from drought conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor report said, down from less than 3 percent a year ago.
Below are photos and video of some the damage left in the wake of the recent storms.
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Below: Monstrous waves broke apart a historic World War I ship off the coast of California’s Seacliff State Beach on Saturday, January 21.
Below: People Canoe Down Flooded Long Beach Streets