A severe winter storm hit California, inundating the Santa Barbara airport with up to 10 inches of rain.
A severe winter storm hit California, inundating the Santa Barbara airport with up to 10 inches of rain.

California Hit by Severe Winter Storm Bringing Heavy Rainfall

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A powerful winter storm battered California, inundating the Santa Barbara airport with up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain by noon on Monday. 

Runways were submerged under water, prompting officials to suspend commercial and general aviation operations and close the terminal until further notice.

National Weather Service Warns of Significant Flooding:

The National Weather Service warned of “significant flooding” along California’s central coast, predicting rainfall amounts of up to 5 inches (12 cm) in many areas. 

Isolated regions, particularly the Santa Lucia and Santa Ynez mountain ranges, could experience rainfall totals of up to 10 inches (25 cm) as the storm advances toward greater Los Angeles.

Unlike the recent lingering atmospheric river that caused widespread devastation in Southern California, this storm is anticipated to pass through more swiftly. 

Despite moderate showers reported on Monday afternoon, forecasters warned of additional night and Tuesday rainfall, heightening the risk of flooding and related emergencies.

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Rescues Underway Amid Rising Waters:

Emergency responders conducted multiple rescues across the state as swollen rivers and creeks posed threats to residents. 

In San Luis Obispo County, crews aided three individuals stranded on the rising Salinas River, while firefighters in Sloughhouse rescued two people trapped in floodwaters. Elsewhere, a man camping near El Dorado Hills required rescue after becoming trapped in a tree due to rising floodwaters.

Potential for Severe Weather in Sacramento Valley:

The Sacramento Valley faced severe weather conditions, including thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes, small hail, heavy rain, lightning, and strong winds. Residents in impacted areas were advised to remain vigilant and heed weather warnings to ensure safety.

In anticipation of the storm’s impact, residents took precautions such as obtaining sandbags to protect their properties from flooding.

Forecasters warned of potential flash flooding, power outages, and hazardous travel conditions, prompting the issuance of flood watches and warnings across coastal and mountain regions.

Snowfall and Avalanche Risks in Sierra Nevada:

Elevations above approximately 6,800 feet (2,070 meters) in the Sierra Nevada were expected to receive several feet of snow, posing challenges for motorists traveling through mountain routes. 

The weather service cautioned against Sierra travel and issued a backcountry avalanche watch for areas around Lake Tahoe and the eastern Sierra.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services activated its operations center and deployed personnel and equipment to areas at the highest risk of storm-related emergencies. 

With the state bracing for further impacts, emergency measures were implemented to ensure swift responses to any incidents arising from the severe weather conditions.

Joshua Skate

Joshua Skate is a prominent contributor at Insider Los Angeles, known for his vibrant storytelling and deep dive into the city's culture, trends, and hidden gems. His pieces bring to life the unique spirit and diversity of Los Angeles, making him a go-to source for all things LA.

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