Los Angeles, California – A rare Level 4 of 4 risk of excessive rainfall is currently affecting more than 16 million people across Southern California. The risk has resulted in submerged roadways and damaging debris flows reported early Monday. In addition, the extended period of relentless downpours is saturating much of the state that is already saturated by recent record rainfall.
An intense, long-lasting atmospheric river is moving across California, bringing widespread power outages, mudslides, and life-threatening flooding as it dumps heavy rain and snow. The storm has resulted in rare high flood risk persisting in Southern California due to a firehose of rain that has parked over the area, worsening flooding conditions Monday with rain expected to linger into Tuesday. The region has already seen nearly a foot of rain, with on-and-off showers expected to persist and expand south into San Diego.
The storm has also caused power outages for nearly 300,000 customers across California, particularly along the coast. Central and Southern California are experiencing widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches, which is more than a month’s worth of rain for most areas in just several days. As a result, numerous damaging landslides, flooded roadways, submerged vehicles, and flooded creeks and streams are occurring in areas that include Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Brentwood, and Burbank.
The torrential downpour in Los Angeles alone brought 6.65 inches of rain since Sunday to downtown Los Angeles, marking the third-wettest two-day stretch the city has seen since 1956. This is significantly more than the average 3.64 inches of rain typically seen in total downtown for the entire month of February.
The Weather Prediction Center issued a rare high risk of excessive rainfall – a Level 4 of 4 – for more than 16 million people across Southern California on Monday. This includes downtown Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Long Beach. In Central and Southern California, widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected – more than a month’s worth of rain for most areas in several days.
The storm has not only caused extensive damage but has also resulted in the closure of several schools across affected areas, along with the rescue operations of individuals facing danger from the storm. Scientists attribute the intensification of this storm to the broader climate crisis and the presence of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, intensifying atmospheric river events on the West Coast.
This strong type of atmospheric river, known as a Pineapple Express, is carrying moisture buildup from the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and walloping the US and Canadian West coasts with heavy rain and snow. Hence, the storm’s impacts are expected to continue through Tuesday, posing ongoing danger to affected communities.