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Powerful storm drenches Southern California with heavy rain

Heavy clouds move over downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the broader region that's been grippe...
In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow covers the road to the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Mo...
A pedestrian carries an umbrella while looking toward the skyline from Dolores Park in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major winter storm hitt...
Heavy clouds move over downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the broader region that's been grippe...
Heavy clouds move over downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the broader region that's been grippe...
In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, a snowplow clears fresh snow around the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.,...
In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow surrounds the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Monday, Dec...
In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow surrounds the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Monday, Dec...
In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, a snowplow clears fresh snow at the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on ...
People walk through a partially flooded homeless encampment at Riverwalk Park in Santa Cruz, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major storm hitting Nort...
Holiday lights line trees as a pedestrian carries an umbrella while walking in the rain in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major winter storm ...
In this image taken from video from a Caltrans remote video traffic camera, a truck makes its way through the snow along Interstate 80 at Donner Summi...
In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow surrounds the Mammoth Mountain ski lift area in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Monday, ...
A pedestrian carries an umbrella while crossing a street in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major winter storm hitting Northern California is ...
Christmas decorations are seen blown over by heavy winds in Carmel Valley, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major storm hitting Northern California is...
A California Highway Patrol officer clears a downed tree blocking the road on Paso Hondo in Carmel Valley, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major stor...
A woman walks along Carmel Point during a respite from heavy rains in Carmel, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)
A sign informs drivers of a closure along Highway 1 in Carmel, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major storm hitting Northern California is expected to...
A submerged vehicle is wedged against a bridge pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficult for firefighters to access it on Tuesday, D...
A submerged vehicle is wedged against a bridge pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficult for firefighters to access it on Tuesday, D...
A cargo train passes over a bridge where a submerged vehicle is wedged against the bridge's pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficul...
People walk along Mission Beach as large waves pound the area, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...
A man adjusts his raincoat as he passes a Mission Beach swimsuit store as rain and wind pound the area, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is ...
People walk along Mission Beach as large waves pound the area, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...
A man runs along Mission Beach as wind and rain pound the area Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...
Michelle Jones covers her head with a bag as she watches large waves along Mission Beach Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching South...
In this image taken from video from a Caltrans remote video traffic camera, light traffic is seen on the snow-covered Highway 267 bypass in Truckee, C...
A submerged vehicle is wedged against a bridge pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficult for firefighters to access it on Tuesday, D...
In this photo provided by the Northstar California, fresh snow from a storm surrounds a ski lift at the resort in Truckee, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 14...
A homeless person shields themselves from the rain under a wet cover in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. A powerful storm ...
Los Angeles County Fire Department water rescue teams leave after attempting to recover a car found submerged in the Los Angeles River wedged against ...
A vehicle is seen in the Los Angeles River at the Washington Bridge near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Rain is drenching Southern Ca...
A local resident surveys the damage to a washed-out road in Silverado Canyon, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, ...
A homeless person shields themselves from the rain under a wet cover in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. A powerful storm ...
Colby Swearengin walks with his son Michael, 4, through the snow near the summit of Mount Diablo in Walnut Creek, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. A po...
In this photo provided by the Northstar California, fresh snow from a storm surrounds a ski lift at the resort in Truckee, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 14...
A man runs along Mission Beach as wind and rain pound the area Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...
A San Diego Lifeguard River Team unit patrols along a flooded water way as it leads toward the San Diego River, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. ...
A Cadillac CTS is seen surrounded by floodwaters in Silverado Canyon, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, about 80...
A vehicle is seen in the Los Angeles River at the Washington Bridge near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Rain is drenching Southern Ca...
A vehicle is seen in the Los Angeles River at the Washington Bridge near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Rain is drenching Southern Ca...

Heavy clouds move over downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the broader region that's been grippe...

In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow covers the road to the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Mo...

A pedestrian carries an umbrella while looking toward the skyline from Dolores Park in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major winter storm hitt...

Heavy clouds move over downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the broader region that's been grippe...

Heavy clouds move over downtown Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The storm will bring much-needed moisture to the broader region that's been grippe...

In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, a snowplow clears fresh snow around the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.,...

In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow surrounds the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Monday, Dec...

In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow surrounds the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Monday, Dec...

In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, a snowplow clears fresh snow at the Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on ...

People walk through a partially flooded homeless encampment at Riverwalk Park in Santa Cruz, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major storm hitting Nort...

Holiday lights line trees as a pedestrian carries an umbrella while walking in the rain in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major winter storm ...

In this image taken from video from a Caltrans remote video traffic camera, a truck makes its way through the snow along Interstate 80 at Donner Summi...

In this photo provided by the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, fresh snow surrounds the Mammoth Mountain ski lift area in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Monday, ...

A pedestrian carries an umbrella while crossing a street in San Francisco, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major winter storm hitting Northern California is ...

Christmas decorations are seen blown over by heavy winds in Carmel Valley, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major storm hitting Northern California is...

A California Highway Patrol officer clears a downed tree blocking the road on Paso Hondo in Carmel Valley, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major stor...

A woman walks along Carmel Point during a respite from heavy rains in Carmel, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

A sign informs drivers of a closure along Highway 1 in Carmel, Calif., Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. A major storm hitting Northern California is expected to...

A submerged vehicle is wedged against a bridge pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficult for firefighters to access it on Tuesday, D...

A submerged vehicle is wedged against a bridge pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficult for firefighters to access it on Tuesday, D...

A cargo train passes over a bridge where a submerged vehicle is wedged against the bridge's pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficul...

People walk along Mission Beach as large waves pound the area, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...

A man adjusts his raincoat as he passes a Mission Beach swimsuit store as rain and wind pound the area, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is ...

People walk along Mission Beach as large waves pound the area, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...

A man runs along Mission Beach as wind and rain pound the area Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...

Michelle Jones covers her head with a bag as she watches large waves along Mission Beach Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching South...

In this image taken from video from a Caltrans remote video traffic camera, light traffic is seen on the snow-covered Highway 267 bypass in Truckee, C...

A submerged vehicle is wedged against a bridge pillar in the surging Los Angeles River making it difficult for firefighters to access it on Tuesday, D...

In this photo provided by the Northstar California, fresh snow from a storm surrounds a ski lift at the resort in Truckee, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 14...

A homeless person shields themselves from the rain under a wet cover in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. A powerful storm ...

Los Angeles County Fire Department water rescue teams leave after attempting to recover a car found submerged in the Los Angeles River wedged against ...

A vehicle is seen in the Los Angeles River at the Washington Bridge near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Rain is drenching Southern Ca...

A local resident surveys the damage to a washed-out road in Silverado Canyon, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, ...

A homeless person shields themselves from the rain under a wet cover in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. A powerful storm ...

Colby Swearengin walks with his son Michael, 4, through the snow near the summit of Mount Diablo in Walnut Creek, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. A po...

In this photo provided by the Northstar California, fresh snow from a storm surrounds a ski lift at the resort in Truckee, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 14...

A man runs along Mission Beach as wind and rain pound the area Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. Rain is drenching Southern California as a powerf...

A San Diego Lifeguard River Team unit patrols along a flooded water way as it leads toward the San Diego River, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in San Diego. ...

A Cadillac CTS is seen surrounded by floodwaters in Silverado Canyon, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, about 80...

A vehicle is seen in the Los Angeles River at the Washington Bridge near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Rain is drenching Southern Ca...

A vehicle is seen in the Los Angeles River at the Washington Bridge near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Rain is drenching Southern Ca...

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A powerful storm charged south through California on Tuesday, drenching the drought-stricken state with desperately needed rain but also triggering rescue efforts on a swollen river and mandatory evacuations due to the threat of mudslides in some areas scarred by wildfires.

The National Weather Service reported remarkable rainfall in several parts of the state.

North of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais accumulated more than 11 inches (28 centimeters) over 72 hours. By early Tuesday, nearly 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain had fallen in one area of Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles. More than 4.6 inches (11.8 centimeters) fell within 24 hours in Orange County's Silverado Canyon, south of LA, where sheriff's deputies rescued residents from homes inundated by mudslides.

Los Angeles firefighters searched the surging Los Angeles River on Tuesday after discovering two submerged vehicles wedged against a bridge pillar south of downtown and learning that a third vehicle had been swept past the bridge. No victims, if any, were immediately located and firefighters were waiting for the water level to fall.

“The circumstances surrounding these three separate vehicles and their journey down the LA River remain unclear,” a Fire Department statement said.

Earlier, a man was rescued after being swept into a covered stream channel in the San Fernando Valley. The man called for help on his cellphone and firefighters reached him through a maintenance hole on the street above. He suffered bruises and hypothermia, fire officials said.

“It's kind of scary out there,” said Dean Heller, while filling up his car's gas tank in northeast Los Angeles. Heller said he'd seen a few minor auto accidents and traffic on the Arroyo Seco Parkway had slowed to a crawl because of flooding in lanes.

“I'm just trying to get stuff done so I don't have to be on the roads any more,” he said.

The powerful system is a so-called atmospheric river that sucks up moisture from Pacific Ocean and dumps it at lower elevations as rain and in the mountains as snow.

The storm began over the weekend in Northern California and has brought heavy precipitation as far inland as Nevada, where more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow fell since Sunday night at the Mt. Rose ski resort just southwest of Reno and more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) fell at Heavenly on Lake Tahoe’s south shore. Mammoth Mountain in the eastern Sierra also got about 4 feet (1.2 meters).

Residents near the Alisal Fire burn scar in California's Santa Barbara County were ordered Monday to evacuate over concerns that heavy rains might cause flooding and debris flows. The order was lifted Tuesday afternoon.

Similar orders were issued for people living near burn scars in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, where rockslides were reported. A mountain route into the resort town of Big Bear was expected to be closed until Wednesday while crews cleared several feet of mud and debris.

Avalanche warnings were in effect in the Mono and Inyo county areas of the eastern Sierra Nevada as snowfall, which began Sunday, continued Tuesday. Vail Resorts' three Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts opened late Tuesday morning after the significant snowfall. Spokesperson Sara Roston said Kirkwood Mountain Resort, which closed Monday for safety reasons, was among them.

In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, about 800 canyon homes were under evacuation orders Tuesday after a flash flood warning was issued in the area scorched by a 2020 wildfire.

After a cloudburst calmed to a drizzle, Lori Bright leaped a puddle in LA’s Highland Park neighborhood, determined to get her daily steps in despite the soggy weather.

“There’s a lull, so I decided to go for it,” Bright said. “I don’t really mind getting wet. Just happy to have any rain.”

She crossed her fingers in hopes that the deluge might make a dent in the state’s drought.

Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center, said the storm won’t be a drought-buster, but water watchers are excited about all of the snow it's dumping in the Sierra Nevada.

Melted snow that runs into California’s watershed when the weather warms makes up about a third of the state’s water supply. It’s important for a strong base of snow to develop in December so that storms later in the winter have something to build on, he said. Most western U.S. reservoirs that deliver water to states, cities, tribes, farmers and utilities rely on melted snow in the springtime.

“You’re literally putting water in the bank up there,” he said.

Any moisture is much-needed in the broader region that’s been gripped by drought that scientists have said is caused by climate change. The latest U.S. drought monitor shows parts of Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada and Utah are classified as being in exceptional drought, which is the worst category.

A second storm predicted to hit California midweek shortly after the current system moves on could deliver almost continuous snow in mountainous areas, said Edan Weishahn of the weather service in Reno, which monitors an area straddling the Nevada state line.

___

Har reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Christopher Weber and Robert Jablon in Los Angeles, Terence Chea in Oakland, Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento and Scott Sonner in Reno contributed to this report.


Updated : 2022-05-18 11:29 GMT+08:00