Southern California cleaned up on Saturday after its biggest storm in years unleashed a wave of rain and snow that killed at least three people and triggered flooding, mudslides, high winds and power outages, officials said.
Vital highways and railways were shut down and sinkholes opened on main roads under the heaviest rainfall in the drought-stricken region in at least five years, according to the National Weather Service.
In one of wettest spots near Santa Barbara, over 10 inches (25 cm) of rain fell on Friday with several other stations in Southern California reporting at least 9 inches (23 cm), said meteorologist Patrick Burke of the Weather Prediction Center.
“It’s been a very active winter and rainy season for the entire state of California,” Burke said. “They needed that because of the drought. But sometimes droughts end with a flood and we’ve gone from one extreme to the other.”
Parts of Southern California have been the slowest to exit the drought. But the state’s reservoirs are 22 percent more full than the average, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Since Oct. 1, downtown Los Angeles has received more than 18 inches (46 cm) of rain, which is higher than the total annual average of just under 15 inches.