HomeUS News updateCalifornia faces threat of blizzards, floods as ‘slow-moving’ winter storm lingers

California faces threat of blizzards, floods as ‘slow-moving’ winter storm lingers

Rare blizzard warnings were in place for the mountains of Southern California and forecasters warned of up to 5 feet of snow at higher elevations, while other parts of the country were still recovering from a major winter storm.

About 800,000 homes and businesses in Michigan, including the metro Detroit area, were without power on Thursday from what the utility chairman called a historic snow storm.

In the West, Portland, Oregon, saw the second snowiest day on record Wednesday with more than 10 inches, the National Weather Service said. According to weather service records, the 80-year record of 14.4 inches was set on January 21, 1943.

Heavy snowfall has wreaked havoc on the yatra.

So many stuck cars were abandoned that the city said it is waiving fines for vehicles that are pulled over to block travel lanes.

Cars and trucks backed up on Interstate 84 are seen from the Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge in Northeast Portland, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.  Nearly a foot of snow fell in Portland on Wednesday.
Cars and trucks are stopped on Interstate 84 due to weather conditions Thursday in Northeast Portland, Ore.Dave Killen / The Oregonian via AP

“I probably won’t see it until Monday,” Eric Zavala said of his car, which he had to abandon after getting stuck, told Portland’s NBC affiliate KGW.

Snow fell in Portland on Thursday, but a wind chill advisory was in place through Friday afternoon, according to the weather service, with an air temperature that could drop to minus 5 degrees.

In California, blizzard warnings were issued for the mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties for the first time since 1989. weather service said,

The warning continued from 4 am on Friday till 4 pm on Saturday. Forecasters said areas in the 2,000 to 4,000 feet elevation range could see up to 1 foot of snow, and as much as 5 feet.

Below the snow line, heavy rainfall can cause flooding. Parts of the Los Angeles area, including downtown, were under a flood watch from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The state was facing threats from what the weather service called an “unusually cold and slow-moving winter storm”.

A pedestrian walks on the Highway 38 overpass over I-15 in Cajon Pass, California, Thursday, February 23, 2023, as heavy snow falls.  The storm moved quickly through the Sail region, although more snow is in the forecast.
A pedestrian walks on the Highway 38 overpass over Interstate 15 in Cajon Pass, California, due to heavy snow on Thursday.Will Lester / The Orange County Register via AP

The weather service, after examining the video, said that either snow or grapple – a delicate type of frozen precipitation also known as soft hail – fell on Mount Lee in Los Angeles, where the Hollywood sign is.

The California Department of Transportation urged drivers to stay home in affected areas.

Traffic was halted on Thursday due to spinouts on Highway 50 in Meyers, south of Lake Tahoe, the agency said, and Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada, from the Nevada state line to Colfax, was closed in both directions. Some cameras in the area were frozen.

A spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said the driver was briefly stranded at San Marcos Pass on Highway 154 in San Marcos Pass near Santa Barbara. The plow cleared the way, but intermittent closures were likely in the future.

Meanwhile, much of the Midwest and Northeast on Thursday was still recovering from a major winter storm that hit this week.

More than 1 foot of snow fell in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and parts of Michigan were hit by snow storms that downed trees and power lines.

More than 790,000 power customers were without power Thursday night, mostly in South and Southeast Michigan, according to the outage tracking website PowerOutage.us.

DTE Energy, the state’s largest power and gas company, said 3,000 of its wires were down.

“We’re in the middle of a historic snow storm that we haven’t seen in Michigan for more than 50 years,” Trevor Lauer, president of DTE subsidiary DTE Electric, said Thursday.

Lauer urged people to stay inside. Down-powered lines may be hidden by tree branches, and if they are on a fence, the fence may become electrified. “We have this extremely dangerous situation right now,” he said.

In Van Buren County, in the western part of the state, a volunteer firefighter died Wednesday after a falling tree branch and downed a power line, the fire department said.

Paw Paw Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Ethan Quillen, 28, was electrocuted.

Wayne County, where Detroit is located, received about half an inch of freezing rain, according to the weather service.

Lauer expected 95% of his customers without power to be restored by Sunday. Another utility, Consumer Energy, also had major outages, but expected many people to have power on Sunday.

The weather service said the snowfall is expected to decrease in the Northeast on Friday.



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