Floods help to ease California’s four-year drought

Torrential rains hit US West Coast causing floods for some and relief from extreme drought for many.

    Around 10 percent of California is no longer in drought for the first time in four years [EPA]
    Around 10 percent of California is no longer in drought for the first time in four years [EPA]

    Heavy downpours have brought flash floods to parts of central and southern California.

    This second spell of heavy rain to hit the state in a week caused chaos on the roads as thundery showers caused mudslides along with strong, gusty winds and large hail.

    Some good has come out of this recent spell of unsettled weather: around 10 percent of California is no longer in drought for the first time in four years.

    The bad weather began on Thursday night with torrential rain causing flooding across the streets of Ontario, 56km east of downtown Los Angeles. Some areas reported as much as 50mm of rainfall by Friday night.

    As a result, the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for the mountain areas of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the Antelope and Cuyama valleys.

    The city of Fresno, which is 350km to the northwest of Los Angeles, was badly hit. The California Highway Patrol were forced to close the northbound Interstate 5 Freeway as large swaths of mud spread on to the road.

    Fresno was hit with 430mm of rain in just a matter of hours during Friday making for a treacherous, evening commute home. The rain continued well into Saturday, but is now easing east.

    The same system was responsible for a rare snowstorm around Big Bear Lake well to the east of Los Angeles. It now threatens severe storms across the Central and Southern Plains.

    The first of those severe storms injured at least five people and damaged property in rural Colorado late on Saturday evening. The National Weather Service says four tornadoes hit in Yuma County, about 160km east of Denver, near Colorado's borders with Nebraska and Kansas.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And Reuters


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