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California storms cause flooding, mudslides across the state as record rainfall hits West Coast

Unprecedented storm wallops California
Unprecedented storm wallops California, killing 3 as millions remain under flood alerts 05:11

Record rainfall in Southern California has led to flooding, mudslides, power outages and other damage as an atmospheric river slams the area

More rain is expected today, the National Weather Service said Tuesday morning, with flood warnings in effect for parts of Southern California. Snow is also expected in high-elevation areas. 

California Storms
Police officers notify residents of rising floods during a rainstorm on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Ethan Swope / AP

President Biden spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday morning, promising to provide impacted areas with federal support. Some FEMA resources in the state have already been pre-staged to help with the emergency response, the White House said. 

Record rainfall soaks Southern California 

Parts of the state have seen over a foot of rain, with more coming. Overnight, about a half an inch of rain fell per hour in the Southern California region. Since Sunday, the area has seen about three-quarters of the amount of rain it normally receives annually. As of Monday evening, Bel Air had received 12 inches of rain, while Beverly Hills saw nearly 8 inches and downtown Los Angeles collected 7inches of rainfall, CBS Los Angeles station KCAL reported

There were flash flood warnings in effect Tuesday morning from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park and the cities of Malibu and Beverly Hills, where torrential rain created a waterfall down a mountainside, according to KCAL

The rain will begin to lighten on Wednesday, and a system near Alaska could lead to the end of the storm by Thursday. After the storm finally leaves the area, no more rain is expected in the state for at least the next 10 days. 

California Storms
A truck drives through a flooded street during a rainstorm, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Ethan Swope / AP

Heavy snow is also expected in mountain ranges around the West. By Thursday, ranges including the Sierras in California, the Wasatch in Utah, the Sangre de Cristos in Colorado and the Tetons in Wyoming are expected to see between one and two feet of snowfall. Winter weather advisories are in effect across the region, the National Weather Service said

Floods and mudslides lead to evacuation warnings, closed roads 

Because of all the rain in Southern California, the soil can no longer sop up more moisture, leading to runoff in the area. In Culver City, an evacuation warning was issued for the Upper Crest neighborhood after mudflows were reported behind several homes. Residents in the area were urged to start making preparations to flee, KCAL reported, and an emergency shelter has been established for those in need of somewhere to go. 

APTOPIX California Storms
Residents evacuate past damaged vehicles after storms caused a mudslide, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, in the Beverly Crest area of Los Angeles. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

In Ventura County, both sides of the Pacific Coast Highway were closed overnight because of "storm-related erosion" that washed out a shoulder lane on Monday. High tides may lead to more damage. Motorists have also been advised to avoid State Routes 23 and 27 in the Santa Monica Mountains because of mudslides and flooding in the area. Instead, travelers should use U.S. Highway 101. 

At least three deaths confirmed by officials 

The storm has led to at least three confirmed deaths, officials said. A man in Yuba City died when he was struck by a falling redwood tree in his backyard.  One person in Boulder Creek was killed by a falling tree while in their home, and in Sacramento County, a man was struck and killed by a tree on Sunday, local media reported

APTOPIX California Storms
Workers clear a tree that fell onto a home during heavy wind and rain on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in San Jose, Calif. Noah Berger / AP

CBS Sacramento station KOVR reported that a 5-year-old girl was nearly killed when a tree crashed through her family's home on Sunday, but the child was rescued at the last moment. 

"I think we're all just still in shock," the child's grandmother told the station. "My granddaughter, she didn't even want to come back here. ... I am just glad we came out of it alive." 

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