A car sits partially submerged on a flooded road during a rain storm in Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2024. (David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images)
Storms that began in late January have led to the deaths of 12 people, according to a Feb. 7 press release by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“Just in the last few weeks, California has lost 12 lives to successive storms. Our thoughts are with their families and friends, as well as with communities across the state as they begin efforts to clean up damage and recover,” Mr. Newsom said.
He said an “all of government” response included over 8,500 emergency workers helping communities with roadways, rescues, flood operations, sheltering, and more.
From the state level, teams from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and Cal Fire crews made a combined 47 rescue operations, according to the press release, and assisted six locally led operations.
More than a foot of rain in parts of Southern California, hurricane-level wind in Northern California, new daily rainfall records, and the second-highest rainfall ever recorded in a 72-hour period in downtown Los Angeles were all factors in the recent disaster, according to the governor’s office.
“We’re grateful to our thousands of first responders who have saved countless lives and kept our state going in the face of record-breaking rainfall and snow,” Mr. Newsom said.
According to a Feb. 7 estimate by Accuweather.com, the destruction across the state could amount to $9 billion to $11 billion, with the rainfall, flooding, and mudslides still taking their toll on some of the most heavily populated and high-income areas of California. And not all areas have reported their damage, the site said.
Downtown Los Angeles received 2.93 inches of rain
Monday, surpassing the previous record for that day of 2.30 inches in 1901, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
As of the afternoon of Feb. 7 for the storm that began Sunday in Southern California, there had been more than 500 reports of mudslides in Los Angeles, according to city officials.
There were also 390 fallen trees and 35 buildings requiring inspection after the mudslides, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley. Five buildings have been red-tagged and seven yellow-tagged, which allows people to collect their belongings before evacuating.
Earlier in the week, two homes in Studio City, a neighborhood north of Los Angeles, saw significant damage when mud and debris slid down a hillside along Lockridge Road. Fire crews had to evacuate residents from nine homes in the area, according to the fire department. Homes in the Tarzana and Encino area, just east of Calabasas, were also damaged from a debris flow along Boris Drive.
Also Wednesday, Mulholland Drive in Studio City was covered in mud as of midday, closing the scenic street and possibly endangering some nearby hilltop homes between Coldwater Canyon Drive and Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Several portions of the road collapsed, with no injuries reported.
Mudslides cover roads after heavy rain storms hit the city of Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 6, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
In Northern California, Santa Cruz County was hit with wind gusts stronger than 60 miles per hour Sunday, toppling large eucalyptus trees in some areas and smashing cars on one hillside, according to a Feb. 5 social media post
by The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel.
The California Department of Water Resources on Monday chose to release excess stormwater through the gated spillway at Pyramid Dam in Los Angeles County, allowing the water to be stored downstream in Lake Piru in Ventura County, a department announcement
Officials added that
the storms are allowing groundwater aquifers to fill.
The governor has declared a state of emergency in eight counties, including Los Angeles and Orange counties, while Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass on Monday signed a local state of emergency declaration. The declarations will help speed up the delivery of vital supplies and resources, deployment of disaster responders, and the issuing of evacuation orders, officials said.