Record-breaking rain hits California, worst yet to come


A powerful Pacific storm dropped record-breaking rain on parts of California on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. This was a direct hit by an atmospheric river system and forecasters warn the heaviest rain is expected on Thursday, urging residents to stay vigilant.

Although the storm proved to be less powerful than initially predicted, daily rainfall records have fallen in at least 5 places, inlcuding Santa Barbara, Palmdale and Oxnard, where weather stations registered as much as 49.53 mm (1.95 inches) of rain.

In addition, with a record 49.02 mm (1.83 inches) of rainfall in the last 24 hours, Oxnard broke its 1937 rainfall record for the date and had its wettest calendar day since February 17, 2017, NWS Los Angeles said.

Daily rainfall records broken, California March 21, 2018

Nearly 127 mm (5 inches) of rain had fallen in northern San Luis Obispo County, while 68.6 mm (2.7 inches) fell in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles and 66 mm (2.6 inches) was recorded at one spot in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order affecting about 30 000 people in extreme and high-risk debris flow areas ahead of the storm. The mandatory evacuation there was effective from 12:00 PST, March 20 for burn areas near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires.

The worst of the rain is yet to come, officials said, urging residents to stay vigilant.

Debris flows warning california

AP reported mud and rockslides closed several roads in the region, including Highway 1 at Ragged Point near Big Sur, not far from where the scenic coast route is still blocked by a massive landslide triggered by a storm last year.

A large pine tree was felled in Los Angeles, landing across a residential street into a picket fence.

While no one was hurt in these incidents, there are reports some of the people are ignoring evacuation orders. We'd like to remind them that many people who are no longer with us did the same thing.

Featured image credit: NWS Los Angeles


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  1. Having a “Record Rainfall” vs. that exact day for <100 years of records is not significant news (for instance, on Feb 17, 2 rain records are 2.85" and 2.84", while this was just 1.68...insignificant). Don't sensationalize unless it IS significant, like the most rain in recorded history over 24 hours for that season! Then it probably IS big news rather than just getting lucky on the day that it fell!

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