Over 250 cm (100 inches) of snowfall traps California residents inside homes, prompts state of emergency in 13 counties
A powerful winter storm has wreaked havoc across California, leaving some residents trapped inside their homes due to heavy snowfall. The storm has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in 13 counties, including hard-hit San Bernardino County.
According to San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey, the authorities have conducted almost 100 rescues by Wednesday evening, March 1, 2023.
The winter storm has caused a significant number of power outages, with just over 70 000 homes and businesses still without power early on Thursday. By the end of the day, more than 43 000 customers were still without power.
Authorities warn that it could take up to a week to 10 days to dig out the mountain communities hampered by the heavy snow. Mountain residents are still unable to access roads as the county has about 800 km (500 miles) of tight, winding roads throughout the mountain areas that need to be plowed, said county Public Works Director Brendon Biggs.1
Some areas in California were buried under a significant amount of snow in recent days, with some places receiving over 250 cm (100 inches) of snow in the last week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The excessive snowfall has led authorities to warn residents about possible avalanches, which have already occurred in some areas. A three-story apartment building in Olympic Valley had to be evacuated after it was struck by an avalanche on Tuesday evening, engulfing the bottom two stories.
Huntington Lake in the Sierra Nevada saw 365 cm (144 inches) of snow, while Mount Baldy outside of Los Angeles received 270 cm (106 inches) of snowfall since February 22. Of that 270 cm, 74 cm (29 inches) fell in the past two days, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward, while the other 196 cm (77 inches) fell late last week and through the weekend.
A state of emergency was declared for San Bernardino County and 12 others, including Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, with a significant number of state personnel responding to support San Bernardino County.
Although the state is getting a brief reprieve from the snow through the end of the week, another system is expected to move into Northern California this weekend.
According to the NWS, a storm system is forecast to track southward across the Pacific Northwest and California on Saturday, March 4, producing moderate to heavy precipitation across coastal portions of the region. Heavy snow is also possible in the higher terrains of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, with an additional several feet of snow possible in these areas. The heaviest of these totals is likely to be in the northern Sierra Range.2
On Sunday, precipitation will spread inland, with heavy snow possible in the higher terrains of the Intermountain West.
The NWS advises residents and travelers in these areas to stay alert and prepared for possible hazardous weather conditions.
1 California declares state of emergency in 13 counties after brutal winter storm traps residents – CNN – March 2, 2023
2 Short Range Forecast Discussion- NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD – 257 AM EST Fri Mar 03 2023
Featured image credit: Live Storms Media (stillshot)
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