Forecasters Eyeing Next System as Rain Floods Parts of California


Parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties receive 5 inches. The weekend storm is expected to be severe.

California was drenched with more rain Feb. 1 as the first of two atmospheric storm systems flooded highways and streets and stranded some drivers.

Most regions in the Golden State were drying out by Thursday afternoon, but forecasters expect a more “life-threatening” storm system to arrive Sunday.

Southern California received as much as 5 inches of rain in some areas of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.

Snow also fell on mountain areas, such as Lake Tahoe, during the storm.

Palisades Tahoe, formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows resort in the northwest Lake Tahoe area, reported 4 inches of new snow overnight. The resort expected another 5 inches to 10 inches of snow at the base and more than a foot in the mid and upper mountain by Saturday.

Thursday’s rain and wind caused some flooding on streets and highways and falling trees. A few people also became trapped in rising water.

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Flooding closed the southbound side of the McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica that connects the Pacific Coast Highway with the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles. The westbound Balboa Boulevard on-ramp on the Ronald Reagan Freeway (118) also closed, and flooding hindered traffic on the 710 Freeway in Long Beach. Several vehicles were also inundated with floodwaters at a railroad underpass in Long Beach as water reached the rooftops of cars.

In Orange County, parts of the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach were closed in both directions from flooding. Rocks also reportedly blocked parts of Malibu Canyon Road, according to City News Service.
A man sweeps floodwater inside his barbershop during a rain storm in Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2024. (David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images)
A man sweeps floodwater inside his barbershop during a rain storm in Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2024. (David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images)

Orange County firefighters additionally rescued a man who became trapped in the water at Fairview Road and Sunflower Avenue in Costa Mesa.

A swift water rescue team pulled the man from the water and transported him to the hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

“As you can see, with the heavy rain, the channels are going to fill up quickly with the water moving at a dangerous speed,” the Orange County Fire Authority posted on X. “Please stay clear of bodies of water.”

The storm also dumped enough rain in the San Francisco Bay Area to cause road flooding. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning this week for the entire Bay Area, along with a wind advisory.

Strong wind gusts reportedly knocked down trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains, blocking traffic, according to news reports.

A flood watch remains in effect until Friday. High surf is also expected through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning strikes were also reported in San Mateo County Thursday.

In Saratoga, a suburb of San Jose, firefighters rescued a girl from a fallen tree. She was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the Santa Clara County Fire Department reported on social media Wednesday.

In other cities, an apartment building was struck by a fallen tree in Daly City, a suburb of San Francisco. No one was injured. Also in San Francisco, a home was damaged by a 30-foot-tall Monterey Pine that fell during the storm.

A section of the Pacific Coastal Highway is closed from flooding during a rain storm in Bolsa Chica, near Huntington Beach, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2024. (David Swanson/AFP)
A section of the Pacific Coastal Highway is closed from flooding during a rain storm in Bolsa Chica, near Huntington Beach, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2024. (David Swanson/AFP)
A small power outage in Marin County affected 1,500 people Wednesday but Pacific Gas & Electric said the power was restored within the hour, according to TV news station KTVU.
On Thursday, the utility reported an outage caused by the weather disrupted power for 814 customers in French Camp, an unincorporated community in San Joaquin County, about 77 miles east of San Francisco. The power has been restored for most customers at 5 p.m. Thursday, PG&E reported.

The Sonoma County Fire District rescued one person from a car Wednesday night that was taking on water, according to Karen Hancock, spokeswoman for the fire district.

Flood waters receded Thursday but some roadway flooding in flood-prone areas remained, Ms. Hancock told The Epoch Times.

The county was mostly seeing some showers and lightning Thursday. The fire district’s swift water rescue team was taking advantage of the break in storms to train on the Russian River, she added.

The Next Storm

Weather forecasters are eyeing the arrival of a more “life-threatening” storm expected Sunday, according to Ariel Cohen, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Oxnard, California.

“We’re talking about a very significant storm system that could bring life-threatening floods and landslides,” Mr. Cohen told The Epoch Times.

River and coastal flooding in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties could result from the next storm that could last until Feb. 8 in some parts of Southern California, the weather service reported.

“Everyone needs to be preparing themselves now for this onset of dangerous weather,” Mr. Cohen said. “Flooding could occur anywhere.”

Higher elevations, above 6,000 feet to 7,000 feet, are expected to get another several inches or feet of snow, he added.

In San Diego, the first bout of rain was lighter than in other regions of the state, but parts of Huntington Beach and Seal Beach were flooded, National Weather Service Meteorologist Adam Roser told The Epoch Times.

Forecasters said they are still trying to pin down the time when heavier rain could arrive next week, Mr. Roser said, but it is likely to be Monday or Tuesday.

“We have chances of precipitation in our forecast through next Thursday,” he said. “It’s looking like quite a wet week.”

Moisture in the next atmospheric river storm is from Hawaii and the Northeast Pacific areas, according to the weather service.


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