A winter storm sweeping across the Pacific has brought days of flooding, freezing temperatures and snow to parts of Southern California.
Rivers have risen to dangerous levels and surrounding low-lying areas have even started to snow Los Angeles – More than 30 inches of snow fell in some areas, and forecasters say more is on the way.
The National Weather Service said it was one of the strongest storms ever to hit southwestern California, and it continued to make significant impacts even as wind and rain fell.
The hills around the Santa Clarita suburb north of Los Angeles were covered in white as snowfall also surprised the inner eastern suburbs.
The storm weakened in the region as a rare mountain blizzard warning and a widespread flood watch ended later in the day.
Forecasters say there will be a day’s respite before the next storm is expected to arrive on Monday.
More than 120,000 California utility customers were without power after days of high winds, downed trees and downed power lines — while Interstate 5, the main north-south highway on the West Coast, remained closed north of Los Angeles due to heavy snow and ice across the Tejon Pass.
The multi-day precipitation totals included 205 centimeters (81 inches) of snow as of Saturday morning, with up to 160 centimeters (64 inches) falling at Mountain High Resort and San Bernardino Snow Valley in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles. inch).
Los Angeles County also received nearly 38.1 centimeters (15 inches) at Cogswell Dam, and Woodland Hills received nearly 26.6 centimeters (10.5 inches).
“The past few days have seen a sizable storm with record precipitation and snowfall to the point where snow is rarely seen,” the Los Angeles Regional Weather Service wrote.
The Los Angeles Fire Department used helicopters to rescue four homeless people who were stranded in the main floodwaters of the Los Angeles River — a river that dries up for most of the year.
Two people were taken to hospital with hypothermia, a spokesman said.
Meanwhile, in the Valencia area of northern Los Angeles County, the Santa Clara River burst into an embankment where an RV park is located early Saturday, washing away three RVs.
KCAL-TV reported that no one was injured, but one resident described the scene as devastating.
Lightning strikes closed beaches in Los Angeles County as scattered snowfall, showers and thunderstorms continued ahead of the storm, driven by a swirling low pressure off the coast, before eventually leaving.
The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center is forecasting heavy snow for California’s Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains throughout the weekend.
Further east, some residents were still grappling with the impact of the storm earlier in the week.
About 350,000 Michigan customers were without power as of early Saturday afternoon, according to reports from DTE and Consumers Energy, the state’s two main utilities. Both energy providers said they hoped to restore power to most customers by Sunday evening.
According to Consumers Energy spokesman Brian Wheeler, about half an inch of ice weighed on some of the wires, weighing as much as a baby grand piano.