California Braces for Major Winter Storm with Blizzard Conditions and Flood Warnings
A powerful and menacing winter storm is moving across California, bringing with it heaps of snow, strong winds, and intense flooding. The National Weather Service has issued a rare blizzard warning for the Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino county mountains from 4 a.m. 4 p.m Saturday, as well as a flash-flood warning for the valleys and foothills of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Forecasters warned of heavy snowfall, strong wind gusts of up to 80 mph, near zero visibility, and the potential for 5 feet of snow to accumulate in the mountains above 4,000 feet.
The weather service also issued a flood watch for portions of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles until Saturday, with peak rain rates of 0.75 of an inch per hour possible. Higher elevations could see up to 8 feet of snow, with accumulations of 6 to 12 inches possible at elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 feet, including most major mountain passes.
The storm has already left a mess in Northern California and is expected to gain strength as it arrives in Southern California. Evacuation warnings were issued in Ventura County for areas hit hard by last month's storms, and a low of 41 degrees was recorded at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday, tying the record low for the date set in 2019.
The winter storm warning is in effect through 3 p.m. Officials are asking people to refrain from travelling in the mountains on Saturday. California's epic snowfall event also comes as a separate formidable winter storm tore through the Midwest, leaving thousands of people without power and leading to cancelled flights and road closures.
A potential landspout has been forecasted for Friday night in the areas of Ojai, Mira Monte, Oak View, Oxnard, Buenaventura, and Port Hueneme, prompting a special weather statement. A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, and Simi Valley until 10:45 p.m. with gusty winds up to 60 miles per hour and possible hail. The agency warned that travel in the region will be “very difficult to impossible” with hazardous conditions likely to affect the morning and evening commute.
For the foreseeable future, meteorologists anticipate bursts of heavy precipitation, snowfall in lower altitudes, hazardous circumstances near the shoreline and blizzards in certain nearby mountain ranges.
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