Historic Storm Causes Chaos in Southern California
Los Angeles, CA – A massive storm has wreaked havoc in Southern California, triggering hundreds of mudslides and setting rainfall records. The region experienced nearly 400 mudslides and received over half of its average annual rainfall in just two days. Authorities are warning that the threat is not yet over.
The storm, which has been described as one of the wettest in history, has caused flash floods, strong winds, and widespread damage across the state. The National Weather Service even issued a rare tornado warning for San Diego County, although it was later cancelled. Despite its size and intensity, the storm has not caused any major catastrophes in Los Angeles.
Residents Heed Warnings and Stay Safe
Officials in Los Angeles expressed relief that no deaths or major disasters had occurred in the city. However, seven fatalities were reported in other areas, including one at the California-Mexico border. Mayor Karen Bass thanked residents for staying off the roads and urged them to continue doing so until the rain subsides. Emergency shelters in the city are already full, with the total number of damaged homes yet to be determined.
The Dangers Continue
The storm is expected to continue producing heavy downpours, posing a significant risk due to the already saturated soil from previous storms. So far, there have been 383 reported mudslides and several buildings have been deemed uninhabitable. Another 10 buildings have been labeled as yellow-tagged, allowing residents to retrieve belongings but not to stay due to structural damage.
Tragedy Strikes Elsewhere
While Los Angeles has been fortunate in avoiding major disasters, other parts of California have not been as lucky. Four people were killed in Northern California, including a woman found dead under a fallen tree in her backyard. Flood watches remain in effect for most of Southern California, with fast-moving rivers and creeks increasing the risk of drowning and the need for swift-water rescues.
Potential for Landslides and Evacuations
Between 6 and 12 inches of rain has already fallen in Los Angeles, saturating the ground and raising concerns about landslides. An evacuation order has been issued for a canyon area that was previously scarred by a fire. The memory of a devastating 2018 mudslide that destroyed homes and claimed lives in Montecito remains fresh. The storm has also caused damage to homes in Studio City and forced the evacuation of residents.
Rescue Efforts and Cleanup
Rescue crews have been working tirelessly to save people stranded in floodwaters. In San Bernardino, two homeless individuals were rescued from an island in the Santa Ana River, while three others were helped after climbing into a tree to escape rising floodwaters. Several beaches in the Los Angeles area have been closed due to raw sewage spills.
The Aftermath and Economic Impact
With nearly 7 inches of rain already recorded in downtown Los Angeles, this storm has had a significant impact on the region. California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for coastal Southern California, and federal assistance has been promised by President Joe Biden. The ongoing effects of the storm are expected to be felt by local businesses, such as florists preparing for Valentine’s Day sales.
While the immediate danger may be subsiding, the threat of future storms remains. The El Nino phenomenon is predicted to bring additional storms to California this year. As residents clean up and recover from this historic storm, they must remain vigilant and prepared for the possibility of more severe weather events.
Read More of this Story at apnews.com – 2024-02-07 02:43:00
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