LOS ANGELES — A coast-to-coast storm that paralyzed roads and blacked out nearly one million homes and businesses was set to pound California on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, sparking warnings about floods and blizzards.
The National Weather Service warned of a “cold and dangerous winter storm” through Saturday. As much as 1.5 meters of snow could fall in some mountains near Los Angeles, which could create whiteout conditions as winds gust to 120 kilometers per hour and an increased risk of avalanches, forecasters said.
The weather service issued rare blizzard warnings for Southern California mountain areas and urged drivers to avoid dangerous roads.
Storms already have battered the Plains states and northern regions of the country for days and the National Weather Service predicted continuing problems from ice, snow and freezing rain into the weekend.
The weather also knocked out power to nearly one million homes and businesses in multiple states and closed dozens of schools.
Weather also contributed to airport snarls. At one point on Thursday, more than 2,000 flights were grounded and nearly 14,000 were delayed across the country, according to the tracking service FlightAware.com.
Widespread power outages were reported in Michigan, Illinois, California, New York and Wisconsin, according to the website PowerOutage.us.
In Southern California, the storm began moving Thursday with widespread rain and some snow flurries. There was even a dusting of snow or graupnel — a sort of soft hail — Thursday morning in the hills near the Hollywood sign, although it quickly vanished.
Flood watches and warnings were in effect through Saturday afternoon for some coastal regions and valleys and the potential for heavy rainfall causing flooding and debris flow in some areas burned by wildfires in recent years.
Evacuation warnings also were issued in Ventura County for four areas that were considered unstable after being hit hard by storms last month.
The weather service said temperatures could drop far below normal in the region. That posed a special risk to thousands of homeless people, with shelter space limited and freezing temperatures expected in some areas.
Terry Stephens, who lives in a trailer with her son and his girlfriend in Palmdale, was temporarily placed in a hotel room in the Antelope Valley city northeast of Los Angeles after shivering through the night on Wednesday.
“It was frigid; your bones ache and you can’t get warm,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I had three blankets on me last night and I was still freezing. Nothing helped.” (AP)
WINTER STORM. A snow plow works along Mt. Hamilton road in Unincorporated Santa Clara County, California Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. / AP
February 24, 2023
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