California faced the wrath of a potent storm on Thursday, causing extensive damage across the state as torrential rains battered the region. Dubbed the ‘Pineapple Express’, the atmospheric river storm resembled last winter’s havoc-inducing weather patterns, prompting residents to prepare for an even stronger storm looming over the weekend.
Jackie Ruiz from the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management urged caution, advising locals to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel amid the impending deluge. With Santa Barbara County particularly vulnerable to flooding and mudslides due to its geographic positioning, the entire state braced for the storm’s impact as meteorologists warned of heavy rainfall from both fronts.
The storm initially struck Northern California, inundating roads and prompting school closures in rural areas, while coastal regions faced perilous waves. San Francisco saw its seasonal rainfall surge above normal for the first time, signalling the storm’s ferocity.
Southern California woke up to dark skies, fierce winds, and relentless downpours, triggering flash flood warnings across Los Angeles County and adjacent hillsides. In Palos Verdes Estates, where previous storms had led to homes sliding into canyons, residents were cautioned to exercise extreme vigilance.
The deluge caused chaos on roadways, with major motorways and highways submerged under floodwaters, exacerbating traffic snarls and prompting dramatic rescues by firefighters from overflowing storm drains.
Amidst the statewide deluge, the Sierra Nevada welcomed much-needed snowfall, offering respite from prolonged drought conditions. While the storm was expected to taper off by Thursday night, anticipation grew for a more intense tempest set to strike over the weekend.
However, dispelling online rumours of an ‘ARkStorm’, scientists assured that the upcoming storm would mirror previous winter downpours, alleviating concerns about catastrophic flooding. Yet, UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain issued a sobering warning, highlighting the potential for severe flooding across urban centres and stressing the need for vigilance and close monitoring of evolving weather patterns.
As California grapples with the imminent storm, communities remain on high alert, bracing for the looming threat of floods and mudslides that could unleash havoc across the region.