The “Golden State” is becoming more of a “gloomy state” with all of the rain it has been getting over the last few days.
True Southern Californians like to say “We needed this” when rain falls down but are now saying “rain, rain, go away!” 2024 weather hasn’t been the kindest to California so far, showering the whole state.
The storm currently hovering over the west coast is called an atmospheric river or a pineapple express which are “long and relatively narrow bands of water vapor that form over an ocean and flow through the sky, transporting much of the moisture from the tropics to northern latitudes.” This is the second pineapple express to hit California this year.
All of California has been alerted of flood warnings. The north is under a coastal flood advisory while the south is under a flash flood warning. Experts claim El Niño is to blame for the flooding in California. An “El Niño” is a “climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.”
Flooding has caused mudslides, cars being swept away, power outages and housing flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) reports that 10 inches of rain has fallen over Los Angeles County since Sunday Feb. 5th. Rescue crews have been moving quickly to help move and rescue people from severe areas.
NBC reports that in Los Angeles alone, there have been three deaths. All of which happened when a tree fell over due to severe weather conditions. Because of the rainfall, certain areas of Los Angeles were put under an evacuation order. Karen Bass, Los Angeles’ Mayor, urges residents to avoid driving on flooded roadways.
President Joe Biden called Mayor Bass in the middle of a press conference saying, “We’ll get any help on the way as soon as you guys request it, so just let me know.”
California is also home to a large homeless population. Water drainage systems can become clogged because of homeless encampments. When mattresses are dumped into water channels it absorbs the fast moving water and clogs the drains. Also shelters are filling up quickly, giving the unhomed a hard time finding protection from the storm.
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) went into emergency mode and initiated the Augmented Winter Shelter Program. This program provides motel vouchers to move people inside during storms and served 5,402 people last year.
Azusa is expected to see pouring rain going into the early morning of Feb. 7th. The storm seems to be moving east but covering most of the bottom part of California leaving San Diego to see rain, on and off, all week long.
While the storm hasn’t made it an official warning, expect landfall, mudslides, flooded homes and power outages.
Two weeks ago, San Diegans were hit with a “pre-storm” causing mudslides, flooded homes and power outages which are a normal occurrence but not to Californians. Popular beaches like Mission Beach no longer have dry sand, leaving homes and businesses near the ocean flooded.
Moving inland, cars were swept away in the mudslides, not only shutting down streets but trolley systems. Homes were nearly filled with water. In one case, an elderly woman was found on her roof awaiting help after her neighborhood was near becoming an Atlantis. Freeways like the 15 freeway north bound were shut down due to extreme flooding leaving smaller cars to be found completely submerged.
The City of San Diego is invested in helping residents protect themselves, their families and their homes. There are free sandbags being distributed for families who experience flooding. LA county is also offering free sandbags to homeowners at Los Angeles Fire Stations. Bring a shovel to fill your free sandbag. To find your nearby sandbag distribution, see here.
To avoid flooding in or around your home, it is suggested that you:
Sweep and pick up trash, leaves, grass clippings and other debris that collect around storm drains and curb gutters near your home.
Keep the lids securely closed on trash and recycle bins. If you are due for trash collection, place each bin approximately two to three feet away from the curb so that you don’t block the flow of traveling water.
Minimize the amount of water usage.
Know the safest routes to and from your home or job.
Slow down and do not drive, ride or walk through flood waters.
Do not open or lift manhole covers in the event of street flooding.
Exercise precaution by staying indoors and staying dry!