California Storm Pounds San Luis Obispo, Nation’s Happiest Place, With 55 MPH Winds

San Luis Obispo is known as the happiest place in the nation, according to Oprah Winfrey. But although the residents love the typically balmy weather and upbeat mood, the Pineapple Express storm didn’t spare the little city on the California’s Central Coast. With 55-mph winds and up to an inch of rain an hour, power outages and downed trees transformed SLO Town, as the natives call it, into Gloomy Town.

Recognizing that the California storms would become the Grinch that stole the tiny town’s happiness, residents prepared by stocking up on candles, flashlights, and dog food. The storm ranks as one of the most powerful to hit San Luis Obispo in years, reported KSBY News.

Some areas were particularly hard-hit with rainfall. San Marcos Pass, for example, was drenched with more than four inches of rain, while Orcutt received three inches. Roads were closed, and thousands of people were left trying to remember what they did before the era of cell phones, personal video recorders, and Facebook updates.

The power outages impacted all areas in San Luis Obispo at various times. Arroyo Grande had 5,400 people searching for flashlights, while tourist town Solvang’s residents without electricity numbered more than 2,000. Residents of towns by the ocean were warned to stay off the beaches, which have a history of high surf during storms as shown below.

As trees fell and the wind howled, dogs whimpered and cats meowed to their owners for relief. In animal shelters, homeless pets paced cages and kennels alone. As the Inquisitr reported, Woods Humane Shelter in San Luis Obispo did attempt to find homes for the holidays for their little furry friends, but many dogs and cats remained to ride out the storm on their own.

What can you do if you have a dog terrified by storms? Just like with people, dogs feel better if they have a safe place to go during bad weather, according to WebMD Pets.

Consider an inside room with music playing, an open crate or even the bathroom. Just make sure that the dog can exit rather than feel trapped. An additional tool may be a snugly fitting garment, which some say can calm nervous dogs just like swaddling a baby. Fox News evaluates the Thundershirt, as it’s known, below.

What’s the future forecast for San Luis Obispo? The Weather Center predicts more rain on Friday, cloudy weather on the weekend, and a new round of rain beginning on December 15. The National Weather Service describes the storm as the strongest in nearly five years in California.

[Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images