A rainy winter caused roads to be flooded and slowed the construction of campus projects.
By Aimee Martinez, Staff Writer
Several weeks of heavy rain battered the Los Angeles area as officials evacuated homes due to mudslides and flooding.
As of early February, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has calculated a total of 16.2 inches of rainfall since early December. In Woodland Hills, precipitation was over two inches, according to the National Weather Service. The rainfall resulted in Topanga Canyon and the Pacific Coast Highway being closed due to mud and rock slides. Homes near the Woolsey Fire burn areas were told to evacuate by Malibu officials. Those evacuations have since been lifted, but homeowners were told to return with caution as the canyon roads were still at risk of debri flow and mudslides.
During the storms, LA County warned drivers to slow down and stay alert while driving in the rain. Those who were homeless were encouraged to seek refuge from the rain at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) winter shelters.
“With more #LARain, please help spread the word that Winter Shelters are open 24/7 through Tuesday so we can make sure our neighbors experiencing homelessness are safe and warm during this storm,” tweeted Mayor Eric Garcetti.
At Valley College, the heavy rain has delayed campus concrete work and caused slight leakage in some of the school’s buildings. According to Director of College Facilities Tom Lopez, both the areas by the Campus Center and roundabout were set to be complete before the spring semester. The bookstore and the art, music, community services and the construction project team buildings have also been affected by the rain with minor leaking.
Despite some hazards and damages, the weather has proved beneficial for California’s drought. According to the Drought Monitor, in Southern California the conditions have improved from moderate drought to abnormally dry. The conditions of the Los Angeles Basin have also changed from severe drought to abnormally dry. Additionally, the LACDPW reported that the LA County stormwater facilities have captured 3.9 billion gallons of rainwater for groundwater recharge.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association stated the heavy rains resulted from counter-clockwise winds surrounding storms in Hawaiian islands that strengthened the atmospheric river soaking California. The NOAA defines atmospheric rivers as relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics often releasing it in the form of snow or rain.
Despite the past couple days being an average high temperature of 60 degrees, the National Weather Service predicts a potential for heavy rainfall and warns of possible urban flooding and power outages for this weekend.