On Saturday, a severe winter storm with floods and subfreezing temperatures that had been sweeping along the West Coast turned its attention to southern California.
It caused rivers to overflow to dangerous levels and dumped snow in even low-lying areas near Los Angeles.
It was one of the most significant storms ever to hit southwest California, according to the National Weather Service, and even when the amount of wind and rain decreased, it continued to have a tremendous impact, dumping snow at elevations as low as 1,000 feet (305 meters).
Snow shocked inland suburbs to the east and the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita, located north of the city.
Late in the day, as the storm began to weaken in the area, rare blizzard warnings for the mountains and broad flood watches were being canceled. Before the next storm hits on Monday, there will be a one-day break, according to forecasters.
According to PowerOutage.us, more than 120,000 California utility customers are still without energy after days of violent winds, broken trees, and collapsed lines.
Moreover, Tejon Pass in the mountains north of Los Angeles still had heavy snow and ice, forcing Interstate 5, the main north-south highway on the West Coast, to stay closed.
At the Mountain High resort in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, multiday precipitation totals as of Saturday morning included an astounding 81 inches (205 cm) of snow and up to 64 inches (160 centimeters).
The amount of rain that had fallen as of late Saturday morning was equally astounding, with Cogswell Dam in Los Angeles County recording almost 15 inches (38.1 cm) and Woodland Hills recording nearly 10.5 inches (26.6 cm).
The LA-area meteorological office described the recent storm as “spectacular,” with “record volumes of precipitation and snow down to elevations that rarely see snow.”
On Saturday, runoff raged across the Los Angeles River and other rivers that typically flow slowly or are dry most of the year.
Four homeless individuals trapped in the river’s central flood control basin were rescued by the Los Angeles Fire Department using a helicopter.
According to spokeswoman Brian Humphrey, two were treated for hypothermia and transferred to a hospital.
The raging Santa Clara River took three RVs early on Saturday morning in the Valencia neighborhood of north Los Angeles County after it carved down an embankment where an RV park was situated.
KCAL-TV reported that no one was wounded, but a local said the situation was heartbreaking.
Low pressure revolving off the coast, which fed the storm, did not let up as it left. Beaches in LA County were closed due to lightning strikes and intermittent bursts of snow, rain, and thunderstorms.
In the pouring rain, 57-year-old Derek Maiden, who lives in a tent in LA’s Echo Park neighborhood, gathered cans to bring to a recycling facility. This winter, according to him, has been wetter than typical. When you’re outside in the elements, it’s awful, he added.