Parts of a cliff erodes in Santa Barbara, California, U.S. [Source: Reuters]
Rain was expected to resume in Southern California, bringing with it a renewed threat of mudslides and flooding to a region saturated by record-breaking precipitation over the last several days.
Up to 1 inch (2.54 cm) of rain was forecast for the Los Angeles area during the afternoon and evening as the atmospheric river storm that drenched Southern California moves east toward the Desert Southwest, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
It issued flood warnings and advisories for parts of Southern California.
Several days of intense downpours have already set off 475 mudslides and toppled nearly 400 trees while leaving a path of muddy destruction across the nation’s second-most populous city.
L.A. Fire Chief Kristin Crowley said on Tuesday that at least three dozen buildings required inspection because of mudslide damage and hillside slope failures. Seven had been marked unsafe for occupancy.
The onslaught of rain and snow will go down as one of the wettest storms to hit Southern California in more than 150 years, according to meteorologists.
The ground is so saturated across the Los Angeles area that even a relatively small amount of rain on Wednesday could cause additional destructive mudslides, forecasters warned.
Some 68,000 homes and businesses in California remained without power as of Wednesday, according to Poweroutage.us.
The latest atmospheric river storm, a vast airborne current of dense moisture funneled inland from the Pacific Ocean, kicked off in California with heavy rains, pounding snows and powerful winds across northern and central California on Saturday, before spreading into Southern California on Sunday.
At least three people were killed when wind toppled trees on Sunday in Sacramento, Santa Cruz and Sutter counties, authorities said.
The weather hampered attempts on Tuesday night east of San Diego to locate a missing U.S. Marine Corps helicopter with five crew members aboard. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it was not able to reach the area with its own helicopter due to the rough weather.