Storm brings snow, heavy rain to Southern California, tornadoes to Oklahoma

The weekend brought rare and extreme weather to different parts of the United States. Southern California saw snow and heavy rain, while tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma. The unusual weather was caused by a cold front charged by tropical precipitation, which extended across several states. The front was described as “remarkable, perhaps historic” by the National Weather Service’s Norman office. The storm system had the potential to cause a derecho, which is a line of sustained, high-power winds exceeding the threshold for hurricane force. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of the storm and its impact on affected areas.

Storm brings snow, heavy rain to Southern California, tornadoes to Oklahoma

The storm system brought a mix of warm atmospheric rivers and cold air from the Gulf of Alaska to Southern California. As a result, high desert communities and Southern California valleys, including Antelope Valley and the San Gabriel Valley, experienced a fresh dusting of snow. Residents of Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana in San Bernardino County also reported snowfall on Saturday. Some areas of California recorded unheard-of amounts of snow, including the Sierra Nevada mountains and Southern California’s Peninsular Ranges that stretch into Mexico.

Over the course of four days, nearly five feet of snow was recorded at Donner Summit, while Mount Baldy near downtown Los Angeles measured more than three feet, and Mount Laguna in San Diego County recorded over two feet. Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, 75 miles east of Los Angeles, received more than six feet of snow in less than a week, with five of those feet falling in a 24-hour period. The resort had to close on Saturday to allow staff to clear the snow.

The heavy snowfall, coupled with rain and strong winds, caused flooding near rivers and washes throughout California. Some roads had to be closed, including the main roadway to San Francisco, the Interstate 5’s Grapevine. The city of Big Bear Lake warned that all roads to the community surrounded by San Bernardino National Forest were closed due to snow, with no estimated reopening time. Yosemite National Park announced that it would be closed until Wednesday due to severe winter conditions.

Los Angeles County received several inches of rain over four days, with Topanga Canyon near Malibu getting 6.7 inches, Pasadena recording 7.84 inches, and 4.3 inches falling in downtown Los Angeles. The heavy rain was especially dangerous for those without shelter. The Los Angeles Fire Department rescued two homeless men stranded on islands of dry ground in the Hanson Flood Control Basin on Saturday. In another incident, three RV trailers parked at the Valencia Travel Village RV Resort in Castaic were swept into a storm-swollen Santa Clara River, prompting a helicopter search-and-rescue crew from the nearby Ventura County Fire Department to respond. A trailer was found, but no victims were found, and no injuries were reported.

Storm brings snow, heavy rain to Southern California, tornadoes to Oklahoma

The leading edge of the storm system extended eastward, clashing with cold air and causing severe weather conditions in Oklahoma. A squall line marched through Oklahoma on Sunday, with reports of multiple tornadoes touching down. The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado in the area of Shawnee, a city just east of Oklahoma City. The weather service office in Norman, south of Oklahoma City, tweeted that a tornado apparently passed nearby, to its south, and it was possibly the same vortex.

Shawnee Fire Chief Tony Wittmann said on Sunday night that he knew of no injuries, but there was some damage to homes, as well as fractured gas lines and downed utility wires, north of Interstate 40. Norman’s NBC affiliate, KFOR, reported damage to homes, uprooted trees, and downed wires, but it was unclear whether there were injuries. As the unstable weather moved away from

In addition to the snow and heavy rain in Southern California and the tornadoes in Oklahoma, other parts of the country were also affected by extreme weather conditions over the weekend.

In Arizona, where winter storms are less common, snow and ice caused multiple road closures, including on Interstate 40 and U.S. 93, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. In Flagstaff, more than 3 feet of snow had fallen since Thursday, leading to power outages and school closures. The National Weather Service also issued a blizzard warning for parts of the state.

In Colorado, high winds and blowing snow caused difficult driving conditions on Interstate 70, leading to multiple accidents and closures. The weather service warned of a “dangerous winter storm” in the region, with heavy snow and strong winds expected to continue through Monday.

In the Midwest, heavy snowfall caused problems for travelers and residents alike. In Iowa, more than 10 inches of snow fell in some areas, leading to accidents on highways and road closures. In Illinois, more than 8 inches of snow fell in Chicago, causing more than 1,000 flight cancellations and delays at O’Hare and Midway airports.

The extreme weather also had economic impacts. The shutdown of Interstate 5’s Grapevine caused problems for truckers transporting goods between Northern and Southern California, leading to delays and shortages of some products. The snow in Southern California also forced the closure of several ski resorts, affecting tourism and local businesses.

These extreme weather events are not isolated incidents and may be linked to climate change. Climate scientists have warned that as the planet warms, extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts, floods, and storms are becoming more frequent and intense. In addition, warmer ocean temperatures can provide more energy for storms, leading to more severe weather conditions.

The storm that brought snow and heavy rain to Southern California and tornadoes to Oklahoma over the weekend was part of a larger system that affected multiple regions across the country. The extreme weather caused damage, power outages, and travel disruptions, and may be linked to climate change. As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, it is important to take steps to mitigate their impacts and address the root causes of climate change.

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