California rain shatters records; more is coming

A storm pounding California with record rain and heavy snow spawned minor flooding, mudslides, small evacuations and road closures Monday, but forecasters warned that the bad weather’s worst impact may be yet to come. Virtually the entire state was affected. Rainfall records fell, numerous traffic accidents snarled roads, trees tumbled and even some horse races had to be canceled. Some locations in Southern California received more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain, said meteorologist Jamie Meier of the National Weather Service. It was the most rainfall in one storm event since 2005, he said. The storm was expected to intensify Tuesday night and Wednesday, with between five and 10 more inches (12 and 25 more centimeters). The stormy weather began hitting the northern part of the state late Thursday and southern areas on Friday, after a large storm front moving out of the Gulf of Alaska met with subtropical, moist air coming across the Pacific Ocean. In the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Sugar Bowl ski resort received as much as 60 inches (1 1/2 meters) of snow at upper elevations. Elsewhere, a 20-mile (30 kilometer) stretch of the scenic Pacific Coast Highway between Malibu and Oxnard was closed to commuters after a rock and mudslide Sunday night. The California Highway Patrol said no one was hurt.

In the southern San Joaquin Valley there was sporadic flooding of single-family homes but no deaths or injuries had been reported, said Kern County Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins. The Los Angeles area, including downtown, Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, received 3 inches to 4 inches (7 to 10 centimeters) of rainfall, while mountain areas got much more. Rainfall records weren’t just broken, they were obliterated. The weather service said 3.45 inches (8.76 centimeters) of rain fell in Pasadena on Sunday, shattering the old mark of 1.5 inches (3.81 centimeters) on the same date in 1987. Since the storm began, the city had received more than 5 inches (13 centimeters) as of early Monday. – Arabnews