Northern Arizona residents woke up to a winter wonderland on Wednesday and forecasters warned of a lot more snow in the coming days. A powerful el Niño influenced storm has hit the coast of California, dumping much needed rains on a state stricken with a severe drought.
Emily Thornton, a NWS meteorologist in Los Angeles, said Tuesday’s storm was the strongest thus far of the El Niño season, which she said is expected to last into spring. The storms peak in January, February and March.
Rain drops bead on an vehicle window below the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears… The crazy weather spawned numerous thunderstorms, a rare sight for southern California.
In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, a homeless man in his 40s was swept off his feet by swift waters and washed nearly a mile down Brea Creek in Buena Park before he pulled himself out, fire officials said. He was treated at a hospital for scraped feet and arms.
Around an inch was estimated to have fallen on Los Angeles. Shuttles were available to shelters that had room for as many as 6,000 beds, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. Police were prepared to temporarily detain people who were illegally camped along the Los Angeles River but refused to move. No victim was found and the report was not substantiated, the department said. The Water Resources Control Board announced Tuesday that Californians used 20 percent less water this past November than they did two years ago.
The National Weather Service is reporting preliminary rain and snowfall totals for California as the week’s El Nino-stoked storms start to wind down. Areas that were burned in recent wildfires are particularly vulnerable.
That falls short of Brown’s 25 percent conservation mandate for a second straight month, although board chairwoman Felicia Marcus said the state remains on track to meet his overall goal.
Well over two inches of rain fell on several mountain areas of Southern California on Wednesday, including 3.5 inches at the San Gabriel Dam in the Angeles National Forest.
“The best time to prepare is before a weather event happens, but there is still time to prepare at least a basic emergency kit for your home, your vehicle or your place of work”, said Brad Alexander, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
This year’s El Niño is forecast to tie the strength of the weather system seen in in 1997 and 1998, which is regarded as one of the most destructive ever.
California residents are hopeful that upcoming storms could quench the state’s drought problems, despite possibilities of catastrophe. But even a very wet winter won’t be enough to replenish water supplies depleted by four years of drought. They say there are also delays on buses and light-rail trains because they are running at reduced speeds. “We’ve got to keep it going”.