Southern California is expected to be drier and colder on Wednesday, a day after a massive storm drenched the region with record rains, high winds and mountain snow and required mandatory evacuation orders.
The storm on Election Day engulfed Los Angeles International Airport with 1.44 inches of rain, breaking the previous record of 1.3 inches set in 1998, according to the National Weather Service. In Burbank it rained 1.31 inches, surpassing the 1979 record of 0.66 inches. Long Beach received 0.86 inches of rain, breaking the 1998 record of 0.85 inches. Lancaster and Palmdale also saw their records broken, with 0.57 inches of rain and 0.38 inches respectively, surpassing their previous records. . of 0.4 inches and 0.22 inches.
The storm, which began to weaken Wednesday, came from the Gulf of Alaska and was propelled by a low-pressure system offshore, according to the weather service. It fell at least an inch of rain in most places in Southern California, while mountain areas received a few inches of rain.
Temperatures will remain 10 to 15 degrees below normal on Wednesday, with cold nights for the next few days, the weather service said. A Santa Ana wind event is also developing, peaking Thursday in the Santa Lucia Range in San Luis Obispo County and Friday morning over the valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, bringing gusts and cool winds to the region.
“This was the most significant storm we’ve seen so far this year, and it was notable because it’s early,” said Kristen Stewart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “We usually see more significant rain in the January, February and March time frame.”
On Tuesday, the weather service mistakenly sent a flood warning to a much larger area than intended. The warning, intended for about 1,500 people in the Fish Fire Burn area east of Duarte, went wide when a “glitch” changed the small, targeted area across LA County, according to the National Weather Service. The warning was canceled and a corrected warning was sent to those in the area with burns.
At least one person was killed and two were missing Tuesday after rainwater washed away a group of people in Ontario in the 1,200 block of East 4th Street at about 9:45 a.m., officials said.
Six people, believed to have been living in the wash, were swept into the water; rescuers conducted a search and rescue operation and took out three people.
An unidentified man was found dead in a watershed; two others were still missing as the search sequel by noon and Wednesday morning, officials said.
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for about 25 houses in Duarte, near the site of the Fish fire in June. The order was lifted on Tuesday at 10 pm
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday issued a voluntary evacuation warning for Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon and Modjeska in the Bond fire area. The orders have since been lifted.
A winter storm warning has been issued until 10 a.m. Wednesday for parts of the San Bernardino County mountains, including the towns of Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Big Bear Lake, Running Springs, Wrightwood and Idyllwild-Pine Cove. .
Additional snow accumulations of up to 5 inches were possible Wednesday morning, while the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine could get up to a half inch of snow.
Heavy snowfall and power outages led the Bear Valley Unified School District to close its schools on Wednesday due to the weather, according to a district press release.
More storms will be needed to dent the ongoing drought in California, which is entering its fourth straight year, but Stewart says any rain at this point will be beneficial. The state is grappling with its driest three-year period on record, and long-term forecasts have suggested this water year, which started Oct. 1, is expected to remain drier than average.
“Any rainfall early in the water year is good for us to alleviate the drought,” Stewart said. “The sooner the rainfall starts, the sooner it can start filling reservoirs and the snow cover in the Sierra. We haven’t had a huge fire season this summer and into the fall, so this early season rain will help us at all of the Santa Ana events and reduce the potential for fire later on.”
A wet start to the water year but later drier weather could also mean the fire season could start earlier than expected, just like last year, Stewart said.
“It really depends on how the rest of the year goes,” she said.