The drought stricken state of California received some much needed precipitation over the weekend; however this massive rainfall did very little to reduce the effects of the drought, and in fact created additional problems in the form of mudslides and sinkholes. While the rest of the country has experienced one of the harshest winter seasons in recent memory, California sat perched on the West Coast begging for relief in the form of water.
The unrelenting effects of the drought in California created such arid conditions that wildfires raged through several areas, stripping away trees and foliage that helped keep the soil intact. Before the storm hit several hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate their homes for safety reasons associated with landslides and sinkholes. While most residents appreciated what little relief the rains provided, state officials warn that drought conditions are not resolved, and will continue without several more storms passing through the area.
“A thunderstorm that brought sorely-needed rain to drought-plagued California is winding down after sending mudslides down foothill communities, flooding roadways and opening up sinkholes.
Evacuation orders remained in effect for hundreds of homes in Los Angeles County foothill communities where recent wildfires have burned away vegetation that holds soil in place, and bursts of rain caused occasional debris flows.
The storm marked a sharp departure from many months of drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state’s vast farming industry. However, such storms would have to be much more frequent to make major headway against the drought, weather forecasters say.
The heavy band of rain drenched parts of the state throughout Saturday before tapering off by nighttime. While the danger of mudslides was subsiding, officials urged residents who left their homes as much as three days earlier to stay away until Sunday morning.
“The good news is that it looks like the storm will pass … but we still need to evaluate the safety of the area” before people can return home, Assistant Chief Steve Martin of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told a webcast news conference.
In California, about 1,200 houses in the adjacent cities of Azusa and Glendora as well as nearby Monrovia were under evacuation orders because of the possibility of destructive flows from the San Gabriel Mountains, a rugged range largely covered by the Angeles National Forest.
The storm was the much more powerful second act of two systems that hit California during the week.
Downtown San Francisco received 8.01 inches of rain by Saturday evening, bringing the city to 44 percent of its normal rainfall but avoiding the city’s driest-ever “rain year” record by roughly half an inch, NWS meteorologist Matt Mehle said. The driest year was in 1851, with just 7.42 inches. The rain year begins July 1.
In the Hollywood hills, a mudslide took down a tree which knocked down a power pole, leaving homes in the neighborhood in the dark late Saturday.”
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