SANTA BARBARA, Calif: A Pacific storm, which battered California’s coastal regions and left drivers stranded, is set to impact the southeastern part of the state until Friday.
This weather system poses a risk of flooding across a broad area, stretching from San Diego to the Mojave Desert and extending into certain areas of Arizona.
As countless Californians rushed to complete their holiday shopping or geared up for travel on highways, the National Weather Service issued flood watches for low-lying urban regions and the deserts.
Showers and thunderstorms have the potential to deposit up to 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain throughout the day. However, the primary worry is that certain areas may experience a rapid deluge of a half-inch to an inch (1.3 to 2.5 centimeters) of rain within an hour. According to the weather service, this could lead to overflow in streams, creeks, and rivers.
On Thursday, drivers found themselves stuck in their vehicles on submerged roads northwest of Los Angeles.
Heavy downpours inundated regions in Port Hueneme, Oxnard, and Santa Barbara cities. In Santa Barbara, a police detective assisted a woman by carrying her on his back after the SUV she was traveling in became stuck in knee-deep floodwaters.
From midnight to 1 a.m., the storm deposited 3.18 inches (8 centimeters) of rainfall in downtown Oxnard. This exceeded the region’s usual December monthly average of 2.56 inches (6.5 centimeters), as the National Weather Service reported.
Store Viva Oliva
Several hours later, Carlos Larios, the Heritage Coffee and Gifts manager in downtown Oxnard, mentioned that the storm had not affected their Thursday morning rush despite the “gloomy” skies.
People are still coming in for coffee, which is unexpected,” he remarked. “I don’t believe the rain will deter many people from being out and about.
Around midday, the rain and wind had subsided, prompting residents to step outside and assess the aftermath. There were no notable reports of damage or injuries.
Sven Dybdahl, proprietor of the olive oil and vinegar store Viva Oliva in downtown Santa Barbara, mentioned having difficulty finding dry routes to work on Thursday morning. Fortunately, most of the intense rainfall and flooding had subsided shortly before 11 a.m.
He expressed gratitude that the weather is anticipated to pose a challenge for just a few days toward the conclusion of the holiday shopping season. Otherwise, he would be concerned about how the rains might impact his store’s financial performance.
“It will have an impact, but thankfully, it’s happening quite late,” he said.
This is an authentically dramatic storm,” remarked climate scientist Daniel Swain from the University of California, Los Angeles, during an online briefing.
“In Oxnard, specifically, overnight, there were downpours, and preliminary data suggests that these were likely the most intense downpours ever recorded in that part of Southern California.
Earlier in the week, the storm traversed Northern California as the center of the low-pressure system gradually shifted southward off the coast.
Meteorologists characterized it as a “cutoff low,” signifying a storm disconnected from the typical west-to-east atmospheric flow, allowing it to persist for days and intensify the volume of rainfall.
The system generated sporadic bands of precipitation instead of widespread, generalized rainfall.
Meanwhile, residents of California were getting ready for holiday travel and completing their Christmas preparations.
According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, approximately 9.5 million individuals in the region are expected to travel during the year-end holiday.
The Northeast experienced an unexpectedly powerful storm earlier this week, and certain areas of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were still recovering from the effects of rain and wind damage. Sections of Maine, particularly along the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers, were particularly impacted.
The storms have resulted in the unfortunate loss of at least seven lives in East Coast states. Fatalities have been reported in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Maine.