February 22, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Dangerous Deluge: Southern California Braces for Record Rainfall and Coastal Chaos

Heavy Rain Shatters Records, Prompts High Surf Advisory – Residents Urged Caution

Lingering showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms are set to persist through tonight in Southern California, paving the way for a formidable storm system expected from Sunday to Tuesday. The spotlight now shifts to the potential for severe weather as heavy rain forecasts heighten concerns.

Social media posts for the National Weather Service for Los Angeles state, “This is shaping out to be a life-threatening flooding situation, especially during the Sunday through Monday time period.  This is a lot of rain, with a potential for projections to go even higher. Life-threatening and damaging flooding is possible.  Heavy snow accumulations for the higher mountain communities (above 6,000 feet) are possible.” The NWS has a website page that has recommendations for how to prepare for flooding. 

Today, the region bore witness to the obliteration of five daily rainfall records, all stemming from February 1 and established between 1940 and 1960. Preliminary reports reveal a record-breaking 2.37 inches of rainfall at Los Angeles Airport, surpassing the previous 1960 record of 1.55 inches.

Long Beach Airport in California also encountered a record-setting downpour, logging 2.43 inches of rainfall today, exceeding the previous 1960 record of 1.45 inches. Additionally, Lancaster saw a record rainfall of 0.52 inches, breaking the 1945 record of 0.32 inches.

Against this meteorological backdrop, a high surf advisory remains in effect until 6:00 a.m. PST Saturday, cautioning of large breaking waves with perilous rip currents along the Catalina and Santa Barbara Islands, Los Angeles County Beaches, Malibu Coast, and other coastal areas. Surf heights are projected to peak at 8 to 12 feet on west-facing beaches.

The advisory underscores a 30 percent chance of surf reaching 15 feet over Ventura County, posing a risk of pier damage. Consequently, there is an elevated risk of ocean drowning, with rip currents having the potential to pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. The impact of large breaking waves may cause injuries, wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near the shore.

Residents and beachgoers are strongly advised to refrain from entering the water due to these hazardous surf conditions and to stay close to occupied lifeguard towers. Additionally, exercising caution around rock jetties is crucial, as they can be deadly under such circumstances.

Hazardous surf conditions are currently prevailing and are likely to persist well into the upcoming week. The ensuing storm is expected to bring additional gales, with storm-force gusts a possibility. Individuals are urged to exercise caution on beaches, and mariners are advised to remain in port during these challenging conditions.

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