California Braces for Another Round of Rain and Snow


Southern California residents are gearing up for yet another round of heavy rainfall and flooding, as the region braces for its 12th atmospheric river storm of the season. These storms, which are characterized by long plumes of moisture that transport water vapor from the tropics to higher latitudes, can bring about extreme flooding and runoff when they make landfall.

The latest storm is expected to arrive on Friday night and last through Sunday, with the National Weather Service (NWS) predicting rainfall of 2 to 4 inches along the coast and valleys, and up to 6 inches in the mountains. Flash flood watches have been issued for parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, with winter storm warnings for elevations above 5,000 feet.

Residents in areas recently affected by wildfires, such as the Bobcat Fire in Angeles National Forest and the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino National Forest, are being advised to follow evacuation orders from local authorities and avoid driving through flooded roads, as mudslides and debris flows could pose a threat.

Strong winds and downed trees could also lead to power outages, with over 250,000 customers without electricity after the previous atmospheric river storm. Southern California Edison is working to restore service as quickly as possible.

Despite the potential hazards, some residents are welcoming the rain as a relief from years of drought. The recent storms have helped to replenish reservoirs and snowpacks across the state, ending water restrictions for nearly 7 million people in Southern California. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that as of March 16, only 3% of California is in severe drought, compared to 95% at this time last year.

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