Southern California winter storm prompts rescues, road closures

Southern California winter storm prompts rescues, road closures

A powerful winter storm carving a path through Southern California is expected to weaken on Saturday, leaving piles of sleet, snow and record-breaking rain in its wake.

Reports of power outages, ground robberies and road closures rang out across the Southland as the plume of freezing moisture carved a path to the southeast. Rescue teams came to the aid of several people, including a 61-year-old man hoisted to the shelter of an island of dirt in the Tujunga washout on Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Four homeless people, along with four dogs and a cat, were also rescued from a remote area of ​​the heavily flooded Sepulveda Basin on Friday night, LAFD said. Two of the people suffered from hypothermia and were taken to hospital.

The storm, which already turned Northern California into a winter wonderlandset several precipitation records in and around Los Angeles on Friday, including 4.61 inches of rain near Hollywood Burbank Airport — its fifth wettest day ever, according to National Weather meteorologist Rich Thompson Service at Oxnard.

Daily rainfall records were also set at Los Angeles International Airport, which received 2.04 inches, and Lancaster with 0.78 inches, Camarillo with 1.43 inches, Oxnard with 2.04 inches and Santa Maria with 2.61 inches, Thompson said, calling it “very impressive stuff.” ”

Satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show clouds moving across California.

Satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the powerful winter storm that hit Southern California on Saturday.


The unusual system also dropped heavy snow over mountainous areas, particularly at elevations above 4,500 feet. The Mountain High station in Wrightwood received 65 inches of fresh powder in 24 hours, Thompson said, with the possibility of an additional foot on Saturday.

However, the bulk of the storm moved past the Los Angeles area, Thompson said.

“Right now the heaviest rain has moved east into LA County. You’re still going to see steady light to moderate rain in the morning, but this afternoon it’s going to get more downpour,” he said. -he declares.

Areas such as San Bernardino and San Diego were still “in the thick of it” Saturday morning but also expected a weakening trend later in the day, said Brian Adams, meteorologist with the San Weather Department. Diego.

“The system as a whole is sort of moving on an east, southeast trajectory,” he said.

The weakening of the system prompted a number of dramatic rescues and dangerous situations during its angry days. In Ojai, a rescue helicopter flew over Ladera Ridge Road, north of Thatcher School, at around 10.30pm on Friday when a woman became trapped in a dip in the road amid rising water was rushing quickly.

Video shared by the Ventura County Fire Department shows a rescue swimmer descending from the helicopter via a long cable, landing on the roof of the car and guiding the woman out of the driver’s side. She held on as the helicopter swung them both to dry land, where other firefighters helped to receive them.

The woman was assessed and did not need to be transported to the hospital, Ventura County Firefighter Andy VanSciver said.

A call for help went out again 30 minutes later, around 11 p.m., this time at the mouth of the Ventura River, just past Main Street near downtown Ventura. Two men were stuck on an island that had formed in the middle of the mouth of the river, as the water rose on all sides.

A fire crew was able to rescue them with a very, very long ladder, said City of Ventura Fire Battalion Chief Jeremy Henderson. He urged the public on Saturday to remain vigilant in the face of rising waters.

“Do not cross any moving water, it is extremely dangerous,” he said. “Only 12 inches can pull your vehicle off the road.”

Indeed, a rare blizzard warning remains in effect for the mountains of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties until 4 p.m. Saturday, where heavy snowfall, gusty winds and near-zero visibility are possible.

A flood watch is also in effect across large swaths of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Ventura counties through Saturday afternoon, where flooding from excessive rainfall is still possible.

The storm rumbled traffic, especially in the mountain passes. Interstate 5 remains closed in the Grapevine area from Tejon Pass to Parker Road due to winter conditions, the California Department of Transportation said. Within the city, Interstate 5 was also closed around Los Feliz Boulevard and around Laurel Canyon Boulevard due to flooding.

Other closures in the region include portions of State Routes 14 and 138, as well as State Routes 2 and 39 in the Angeles National Forest, Caltrans said.

Thousands of residents were also woken Saturday by power outages affecting North Hollywood, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Jefferson Park and more, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said. The agency said residents can expect crews to respond “between 12 and 24 hours” from the time outages are reported, though restoration may take longer depending on local conditions.

“Our crews are working as quickly and safely as possible in cold and wet conditions to restore power to affected customers,” the agency said.

Southern California Edison breakdown map also showed more than 18,000 customers without power in Southern California, including about 11,400 in LA County.

“This storm is widespread and impacting many of SCE’s customers and communities from Catalina Island to Lake Arrowhead and Vineyard to Mammoth,” spokesperson Reggie Kumar said.

SCE has organized equipment and crews to areas expected to be most affected by the storm, he said. About 1,000 crew members were on the ground working on the outages on Saturday morning.

Although the system is weakening, officials have warned residents to remain vigilant as soggy, snowy and potentially dangerous conditions could persist.

In Valencia, two motorhomes at an RV park were swept into the Santa Clara River shortly after midnight Saturday when an embankment collapsed, according to Sgt. Keith Greene of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriffs Station.

“It was raining so hard you couldn’t hear much,” said Jennifer Calderon, who lives at the park. told CBS Los Angeles. Her voice cracked with emotion as she described waking up to the haunting image of her neighbors rushing to pull other neighbors out of the water.

Large chunks of earth were still seen crumbling into the swollen river on Saturday morning, and the area was without power as an electric cable along the embankment had also been washed away.

No one was injured and the area along the bank was evacuated, Greene said. The water levels remain too high to retrieve the two trailers.