Atmospheric river bringing new storm with rain and snow to California

November 30, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation


Derek Graham rides a sled with hid daughter, Paige, 6, and son, Henry, 7, rear, of Bakersfield as they play in the snow after a winter storm in Lebec. The family had planned to go to Mexico but the snow and road closures changed their plans.  

(Patrick T. Fallon/For The Times)


Antonio Solorzano, center, builds a snowman with Scarlette Solorzano, 7, left, Nancy Solorzano and Priscilla, 3, center right, and Humberto Solorzano, right, of Ventura county while they play in the snow after a winter storm in Lebec. 

(Patrick T. Fallon/For The Times)


Ally catches a snowball in her mouth while playing with Ana Barillas and Denise Aparicio of Bakersfield in the snow after a winter storm in Lebec. 

(Patrick T. Fallon/For The Times)


It’s a winter wonderland in Big Bear, that is if you can get there. The resorts of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are report upwards of 4 feet of fresh snow. 

(Big Bear Mountain Resort)


A snowboarder makes fresh tracks on a trail at Snow Summit in Big Bear, where the resort is reporting up to 48-inches of fresh snow from the latest storm. 

(Big Bear Mountain Resort)


A snowcat is buried under a thick blanket of fresh powder in Big Bear. The resorts of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are report upwards of 4 feet of fresh snow. 

(Big Bear Mountain Resort)


Skiers and snowboarders make their way to the lifts at Mountain High resort in Wrightwood hoping to make fresh tracks Friday morning. The resort is reporting 36-inches of fresh snow from the latest storm. 

(Mountain High)


A snowboarder makes fresh tracks on a trail at Mountain High, where the resort is reporting 36-inches of fresh snow from the latest storm. 

(Mountain High)


PYRAMID LAKE CA NOVEMBER 29, 2019 — A blanket of snow covers the mountains surrounding Pyramid Lake near Castaic. 

(Patrick Fallon /For The Times)


A view of the Los Angeles skyline as seen from the Palos Verde Peninsula on Friday morning. 

(Patrick Fallon / For The Times)


Vehicles turn around at Mt. Wilson Road and Angeles Crest Highway due to heavy snow in the Angeles National Forest. 

(Raul Roa / TCN)


A dog frolics in the snow where a roadside turnout became a temporary playground in the Angeles National Forest on Thanksgiving Day. 

(Raul Roa / TCN)


Snow blankets trees next to Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest on Thanksgiving Day. 

(Raul Roa / TCN)


A surfer exits the ocean near the Redondo Beach Pier under dark skies on Thanksgiving.  

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


The umbrellas were out on the Redondo Beach Pier, where rain fell throughout the day on Thanksgiving.  

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


Lucas Pearson does a backflip under the rain near the Redondo Beach Pier on Thanksgiving.  

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)


Storm clouds serve as a backdrop to the downtown Los Angeles skyline as seen from above the 110 Freeway on Thanksgiving Day. 

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)


Snow surrounds Interstate 5 through the Tejon Pass. 

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)


Johnny Frincke of Carlsbad snowboards in Wrightwood. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


Yahaira Perez, 11, of Temecula sleds down a hill in Wrightwood. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


Storm clouds drift over downtown Los Angeles after dumping record rainfall across Southern California. 

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


Epifania Conde near a mural at West 48th Street and South Broadway in Los Angeles.  

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)


Morning rain in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. 

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


Julio Bravo sells umbrellas on Wednesday morning in downtown Los Angeles. 

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


Snow falls along Interstate 5 through the Tejon Pass between Gorman and Frazier Park. 

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)


Vatsika Viswanathan, 8, grabs snow from the hood of a car in Gorman.  

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)


Yahaira Perez, 11, of Temecula makes a snow angel in Wrightwood. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


A couple walk amid falling snow in Wrightwood. 

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


Clouds linger over downtown L.A. as a storm rolls through the Los Angeles Basin. 

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)


Seagulls fly overhead while members of the Xu family, visiting from Atlanta, enjoy lunch on the beach in Santa Monica.  

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)


Motor traffic crawls along Linclon Boulevard as a plane lands at LAX under stormy skies. 

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


The lights of businesses along Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester are reflected in a rain puddle. 

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California residents on Friday continued to dig out from a storm that swept through the region on Thanksgiving day, bringing record rainfall to parts of the Los Angeles area and dumping snow on the mountains and high deserts.

“This is pretty unreal, especially for Southern California,” said Justin Kanton, spokesman for Big Bear Mountain Resort. About 48 inches of snow had fallen there by Friday morning, which was Bear Mountain’s opening day.

“I’d like to take credit and say that we planned it this way, but of course Mother Nature really holds all the strings when it comes to delivering the goods with snowfall,” Kanton said.

Across the region in Palmdale, which saw 4 to 5 inches of snow, the digging out process was made more difficult by the fact that the city’s public works crews don’t have many snowplows, Mayor Steve Hofbauer said.

“This amount of accumulation is not routine for us,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot of other road maintenance equipment that can be pressed into use, so pretty much anything with a shovel on it kind of became the defacto snow plows, and the guys did a great job.”

The storm “hit so hard, so heavy and so fast” on Thursday that an ambulance transporting a patient became stuck on the uphill road leading to Palmdale Regional Medical Center, he said. Public works crews had to plow a path to bring in a second ambulance, transfer the patient, clear a route to the hospital and then go back and dig out the first ambulance, he said.

By late Friday morning, the roads were clear and people were out enjoying the rare snowfall, with deputies and firefighters pausing their patrols to have snowball fights with children, Hofbauer said.

“I’ve never seen so many snowmen in my life. It’s the invasion of the snowmen,” he said, describing hills blanketed with snow while clouds floated above a dramatic San Gabriel mountains and Sierra Nevada backdrop. “It’s like a postcard right now — it’s just gorgeous.”

The precipitation was less welcome in some areas. Along skid row, the storm forced the Los Angeles Mission to move its annual Thanksgiving celebration inside and prompted staffers to make available extra showers, clothing and hot meals.

The shelter is prone to localized flooding because it sits at the intersection of multiple underground drainage pipes, which can become become clogged during rainstorms and cause material from the sewers to back up into the streets, Mission president Herb Smith said. In addition, he said, the shelter tends to see an uptick in people suffering from cold- and flu-type illnesses when the weather turns cold and wet.

“It definitely is challenging whenever we have rain,” he said.

The Union Rescue Mission received permission from the mayor’s office to use a new microfiber “sprung structure” as a warming area for 120 women for the first time on Wednesday. The heated waterproof tent will eventually serve as an overnight shelter, once it’s approved by the city, said Rev. Andy Bales, the mission’s chief executive.

“We are always over capacity, but when the storms hit, not only have we been over capacity, but we’ve been beyond,” he said. He estimated that the downtown shelter housed more than 1,250 men, women and children over the past few days, as people looked to escape the rain and cold.

“Rain in 50 degrees in Los Angeles can kill you,” he said. “Rain in 40 degrees virtually guarantees death by hypothermia.”

More rain and snow are on the way.

A storm is forecast to sweep in from the west in the next several days, supercharged by an atmospheric river of subtropical moisture — long plumes of water vapor that can pour over from the Pacific Ocean through California. As a result, there’s going to be a lot of precipitation associated with the system, but it’s still too early to pinpoint exactly where the blast of rain and snow will be funneled.

“It’s kind of like a fire hose, which is hard to control. Right now, we’re confident that there’s going to be rain, and a lot of it, on Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Where the heaviest precipitation is going to be is still uncertain,” said Carolina Walbrun, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Monterey office.


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The storm is expected to move into Northern and Central California on Saturday and persist through the busy Sunday travel day as Thanksgiving travelers return home. It could then reach Southern California by Tuesday and Wednesday.

A high wind watch has been issued for many parts of coastal Northern California, and a flash flood warning has been issued for the Kincade burn area in Sonoma County.


The atmospheric river could bring scattered showers to the Los Angeles area by Sunday, followed by a good soaking of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Tom Fisher meteorologist with the weather service’s Oxnard office.

The region has already been hit by two storms this week. Thursday’s rain set a record for the day at Long Beach Airport, which saw 2.17 inches of rain. Anaheim, Newport Beach and Riverside also set records for the day.