Winter Storm Pounds California, Major Flooding Predicted Statewide

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Anadolu Agency / Contributor

According to recent reports from meteorologists, a major winter storm rolled into California on Tuesday. First, the storm brought rain and snow to the drought-laden state. Now, a new threat is on the horizon as some experts call for possible flash flooding in areas recently affected by wildfires.

Officials now say the winter storm may last into midweek. It first hit the Golden State on Monday. Now, some believe this precipitation could curb the ongoing wildfire season.

However, in some areas, the rain brings along its own set of problems. For example, Duarte, a town at the base of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains, placed a mandatory evacuation order late Monday night for about 25 homes in the Fish Fire burn scar area.

Additional evacuation orders are in place through Wednesday morning for canyon areas in the Santa Ana Mountains’ Bond Fire burn scar.

In the northern part of the state, local meteorologists issued a flash flood watch through 5 p.m. Tuesday, telling viewers that heavy precipitation could result in debris flows and flash flooding in the burn scars of the Colorado and River wildfires.

According to the National Weather Service, meteorologists expect between one and three inches of rainfall through Wednesday in the Los Angeles region’s coast and valleys. In addition, the foothills and mountain areas could see up to five inches of rain. Thunderstorms are also expected to last until Tuesday afternoon into the evening.

Officials issue evacuation warning as winter storm hits California

Meteorologists also say mountain peaks above 6,000 feet could get six to 12 inches of snowfall, with 20 inches even possible in some areas.

The winter storm in California originated in the Gulf of Alaska. It later moved into the region Monday, with the first stint of rain hitting San Luis Obispo County by the afternoon before moving south the rest of the day, according to the National Weather Service.

“This is a very considerable storm and a lot stronger than the previous storms we’ve had this season,” said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The weather service issued a flood watch from Monday night through Tuesday evening for parts of L.A. County, including the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and San Gabriel valleys.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department also issued a voluntary evacuation warning, starting at 4 a.m. Tuesday, for Silverado Canyon, Williams Canyon, and Modjeska in the Bond fire burn area.

The weather service said a flash flood watch for the area was in place from 4 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday.

“Canyon residents are strongly encouraged to prepare and evacuate on Tuesday … especially those with disabilities, access and/or functional needs, and canyon residents with large animals,” Orange County officials said at the time.