Winter storm in California leaves thousands without power and snow even in low-lying areas around Los Angeles

John Antczak and Ken Kusmer – AP

A powerful winter storm that battered the West Coast with flooding and freezing temperatures impacted Southern California on Saturday, dangerously raising river levels and bringing snowfall even in low-lying areas near Los Angeles.

The National Weather Service said it was one of the strongest storms to ever hit southwestern California, and even though the volume of wind and rain has decreased, its impact is still significant. Snowfall at elevations as low as 1,000 feet (305 meters) on the foothills around the northern Los Angeles suburbs of Santa Clarita and the city’s eastern suburbs caught Angelenos by surprise.

Homeless shelters in the city filled up quickly, and thousands of people who ran out of space have had to battle freezing temperatures and rain, some even sick and sleeping on the ground and in the open as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Blizzard warnings for the mountains and flood advisories remain in effect, but forecasters announced that the storm would subside this Saturday afternoon.

Patsy Brown, left, tries to clear snow from the road as she waits on a blocked road after several vehicles became stuck in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in Los Angeles County on February 25, 2023. Mario Tama / Getty Images

Thousands without electricity

After days of high winds, downed trees and downed power lines, more than 120,000 California utility customers remain without power, according to And Interstate 5, the main north-south highway on the West Coast, remained closed due to heavy snow and ice at Tejon Pass through the mountains north of Los Angeles.

A staggering 81 inches (205 centimeters) of snow had fallen as of Saturday morning at the Mountain High resort in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles and up to 64 inches (160 centimeters) farther east in Snow Valley, in the San Bernardino Mountains.

[Medio millón de residentes siguen sin suministro eléctrico en Michigan tras el paso de la tormenta de hielo]

“There are reports of 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 centimeters) on some of the higher peaks, and we’re seeing an additional foot, maybe two, of additional snowfall through the rest of the day,” said Zach Taylor, Service meteorologist. National Meteorology.

The Los Angeles River and other waterways that normally flow slowly or are dry most of the year were at full flow Saturday. The Los Angeles Fire Department used a helicopter to rescue four homeless people who were stranded in the river’s main flood control basin. Two were taken to a hospital with hypothermia, spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

In the Valencia area of ​​northern Los Angeles County, the Santa Clara River washed away three mobile homes early Saturday after tampering with a lot where a mobile home park is located. No one was hurt, KCLA-TV reported, but one resident described the scene as devastating.

Meanwhile, in the center of the country, they continue to deal with the aftermath of the storms earlier this week.

As of Saturday, more than 350,000 customers were still without power in Michigan, according to reports from the state’s two largest utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy. Both said they hope to get the lights back on for most of their customers Sunday night.

[Cae una nieve insólita para muchos cerca de San Diego. Mientras en el sur un anticiclón produce todo lo contrario]

Brian Wheeler, a spokesman for Consumers Energy, said some power lines were bearing half an inch of ice, equal to the weight of a baby grand.

“People are not just angry but fighting back,” said Em Perry, director of environmental justice for Michigan United, a group that advocates for economic and racial justice. “People huddle under blankets to keep warm.”

Perry said the group will require utility companies to reimburse residents for the cost of buying generators or replacing damaged food.

In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Allison Rinker was using a borrowed generator to keep her 150-year-old home warm Saturday after two nights in the cold and dark.

[El tremendo peligro de manejar sin retirar la nieve que se acumula sobre el auto]

“We all survived, but spirits were low on the second day,” he said. “As soon as the heat came back on and we were able to get a light or two on, it was a complete change of attitude.”

After driving to a relative’s house to store groceries, Rinker, 27, compared the destruction of the trees to the damage from a tornado.

“Ice falling from the trees as it hit our windshield so hard I was afraid it would break,” he said. “There are just tree branches everywhere, half the trees are on the ground. The destruction is insane.”

A pickup truck got stuck on the side of the road on Sierra Highway near Acton, California on February 25, 2023.David McNew / Getty Images

More snowfall in the mountains

Back in California, the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center predicted heavy snowfall over the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains over the weekend.

The low pressure system is also expected to bring rain and snow to southern Nevada and across northwestern Arizona between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the National Weather Service office in Las Vegas said.

[La muerte de mexicano que cruzaba desde Canadá ilustra el riesgo en la frontera norte]

An avalanche warning has been issued for the inland Sierra Nevada around Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada border. Nearly 2 feet (61 cm) of fresh snow had fallen Friday and up to another 5 feet (1.5 meters) is expected as another storm approaches with the possibility of hurricane-force winds and high-intensity gusts for Sunday.

In Arizona, heaviest snowfall is expected from Saturday afternoon through noon Sunday, with up to a foot of snow in Flagstaff, forecasters said.

At least three people have died in storms from coast to coast. A Michigan firefighter died Wednesday after coming into contact with a downed power line, while in Rochester, Minnesota, a pedestrian died after being struck by a city-operated snowplow. Authorities in Portland, Oregon, said one person died of hypothermia.

Authorities shut down much of Portland over icy roads after the city’s second-heaviest snowfall on record this week: nearly 11 inches (28 centimeters). While the city saw sunny skies and temperatures nearing 40 degrees on Saturday afternoon, the relief and thaw were short-lived. More snow is expected tonight and on Sunday.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.