Southern Californians, already fed up with the wet winter, were affected Wednesday by the tail end of the 11th atmospheric river of the season, which flooded roads, caused mudslides and downed trees across the state.
The water inundated roads, while stones and mud blocked other routes, and there were several reports of vehicles that suffered damages due to potholes. The flooding forced the closure of several kilometers of highway from the Pacific coast to Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles and the Orange County coast.
Three clifftop apartment buildings were evacuated due to a mudslide in their backyards in coastal San Clemente, the Orange County Fire Authority said. The inhabitants of a nearby building were also evacuated while the severity of the landslide was being assessed.
Orange County had already declared a local emergency after a hillside collapsed March 3 in Newport Beach, leaving one home uninhabitable and several others in jeopardy.
Throughout the state, more than 143,000 customers were still without power as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the specialized website poweroutage.us.
Gov. Gavin Newsom surveyed flood damage in agricultural region on the Central Coast and noted that California could receive a 12th atmospheric river next week.
“Take a look back: In recent years, the state has gone from fire to ice without a mild period in between,” the Democrat said, describing “climate whiplash” in a state that has gone quickly from extreme drought and wildfires to an overwhelming amount of snow and rain.
“If anyone has any doubts about Mother Nature and her fury, if anyone has any doubts about what this is all about in terms of what is happening to the climate and the changes that we are experiencing, come to California,” the governor said. .
California’s most recent atmospheric river was one of two storm systems to hit the United States this week. Parts of New England and New York were emerging from a storm Wednesday that battered the northeast coast, causing widespread power outages, school cancellations and snowy conditions on roads.
The remaining showers in southern California were forecast to ease Wednesday night as the storm moved toward parts of the Great Basin. The weather service said California will see minor rainfall this weekend, followed by another major storm next week.
According to the National Weather Service, downtown Los Angeles has accumulated just under two feet (60 centimeters) of rain so far this year, the 14th wettest in more than 140 years of records.