California Faces Renewed Flood Risk as Deadly Storm Drops More Rain

By Brian K. Sullivan | February 6, 2024

The risk of flash flooding and landslides persists for 21 million people across California as rains from a deadly atmospheric river keep falling throughout the day.

Flood watches continue across Southern California, where about an additional 0.5 to 0.75 inch (1.3 to 1.9 centimeters) is forecast in Los Angeles through late Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

The storm has killed three people, all due to injuries from downed trees. The flooding and landslides across California may have caused between $9 billion to $11 billion in damages and losses, according to commercial forecaster AccuWeather Inc.

With the ground throughout the region saturated, “there are still lingering flash flood concerns,” said Ashton Robinson Cook, a forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center. “That will continue through at least this afternoon. After that we will see the precipitation taper off a little bit from 4 p.m. local time onward.'”

In downtown Los Angeles, 2.93 inches fell Monday, a record for the date. The downpour came after 4.1 inches fell on Feb. 4, also an all-time high for that date, according to the weather service. Daily records were also set at Los Angeles International, Bob Hope, Long Beach and Palmdale Regional airports.

A series of atmospheric rivers a year ago killed 22 people and inflicted as much as $34 billion in damages in the state, according to Accuweather. Scientists predict climate change will make California’s wet and dry seasons more extreme, leading to more intense deluges and droughts.

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