Several areas across Northern California are reeling under the effects of a storm that drenched the area and prompted a spate of flood advisories. According to Fox News, the storm front resulted in long traffic snarls and school closures. For many people living in drought-parched California, the storm did come as a welcome respite. Affected places included the Los Angeles area which was hit by heavy rains — albeit in brief stretches. The storm did not last a long time and began to ease a few hours later. However, weather forecasters have warned that locals should expect gusty winds that could reach 60- to 75-mph in the mountainous areas of California. There is also some possibility of snow in the mountains.
According to the National Weather Service, one of the worst affected areas was the suburb of La Canada Flintridge, where an estimated quarter inch of rain fell in less than five minutes. In Los Angeles, there was a report of a power line falling on a car, trapping its driver. The driver, who has not been identified, was stranded inside the car until firefighters cut the power to the lines and moved in to rescue him. The news has been confirmed by fire department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart.
In another incident, two hikers stranded on the top of a tree after the trail they were walking through became rain-soaked were rescued by firefighters, Stewart added. This incident was reported on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Stewart, however, went on to add that no major flooding was reported.
Meanwhile, several locals were glad to see some wet weather after the dry winter. In an interview with KABC-TV, Peer Swan, a board member of the Irvine Ranch Water District spoke about the weather.
“I love the smell, the fresh clean air because it takes the dirt out of the air. I like seeing it. It’s been awhile.
“I’m afraid that when I have to walk up to my car without an umbrella I’m going to get drenched, but I don’t mind.”
The storm front is expected to move south and east in the next few hours and will leave California state by Saturday.
The storm also resulted in several schools being shuttered. The San Francisco International Airport was a scene of chaos after 400 flights were delayed to and from there. In fact, 75 flights were canceled — most of them small planes.
Roads that were closed following the storm included a section of the California Highway 1 near Mendocino County. This stretch was hit by mudslides overnight. A dump truck owned by the California Department of Transportation was hit by one of the mudslides and nearly toppled over. Its fall was stopped by a guard rail. The driver inside the vehicle was not injured.
Power outages, a common phenomena during storms, were reported from several areas across the region. However, most of these were scattered incidents and at the time of filing this report, there are no reports of widespread outages.
Meanwhile, a report by the San Francisco Chronicle earlier in the week said that the storm has resulted in rising water levels in several lakes and dams that were left dry by the drought. Several reservoirs that remained closed for the past three years have reopened. This included the Loch Lomond Reservoir in Santa Cruz County, where water levels rose rapidly, forcing authorities to throw it open for visitors. The reservoir was 85 percent full and still climbing at the time of this writing. Several other lakes from Marin County, including Lagunitas, Bon Tempe, Alpine, Kent, Phoenix, Soulajule, and Nicosia, are 100 percent full.
While the rapid increase in the water levels come as great news for drought-hit California, authorities add that this simply isn’t enough. The major reservoirs in the state are still at lower levels than what the average used to be for this time of the year.
Were you affected by this storm in Northern California?
[AP Photo/Eric Risberg]