Southern California residents still drying off and digging out of the mud — or in some areas, shoveling their way out of the snow — will have to cope with a few more days of rain and snowfall, with the heaviest precipitation expected to begin Tuesday night.
The new, weaker storm will be nothing like this weekend’s downpour, the National Weather Service said.
“Most of the lingering showers will end around noon (Sunday), with partly to mostly cloudy skies prevailing through tonight,” NWS forecasters said of the storm system blowing out of the area.
By Monday night, they said, a wave of low-pressure air passing over the region will bring “periodic waves … with mostly light to moderate precipitation and continued cold weather.”
By Tuesday night, heavy snow in the mountains could return, with more possible through Wednesday.
Much of the region by then is likely to see rain return, but only about a half-inch in most areas. In the mountains, however, communities could see another foot of snow at elevations of 3,500 to 4,500 feet, the NWS said.
All of that new rain and snow could spell trouble for residents still dealing with cleanup from the last series of storms, which left much of the region waterlogged.
“Soils will be saturated, so there could be some risk of minor flooding,” the NWS said.
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Days of rain, hail and snow added up to an already “impressive” series of storms, as described by NWS forecasters, with snow totals measuring in feet, not inches. The highest elevation areas of communities like Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains and Running Springs in the San Bernardino Mountains were buried under 6 to 8 feet of snow over the weekend.
Rain totals across metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire, which topped 10 inches in some foothill communities, led to flooding on city streets. With the ground saturated, strong winds easily toppled trees around the region.
“It’s hard to imagine any more trees falling,” said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The upending of trees and power poles during the storm led to widespread power outages in L.A. and surrounding communities on Saturday, with many areas seeing their electricity service restored after lengthy delays. But 49,000 customers were still without power on Sunday, according to the city’s Department of Water and Power.
Outside the city of L.A., by Sunday afternoon nearly 5,000 customers were without power across the rest of Southern California, according to Southern California Edison.
DWP said officials hope the break in the weather would give workers the time to clean up areas of the city hit hardest by wind and rain. They said the San Fernando Valley took a significant amount of the damage: North Hollywood, Studio City, Tarzana, Van Nuys, Sun Valley, Chatsworth, Mission Hills, Tarzana and Woodland Hills all still had neighborhoods without power on Sunday.
“Crews worked much of Saturday through bad weather, but…we anticipate continued restoration in large numbers as the work progresses,” officials said in a statement.
Humphrey said the hope was that with more rain and winds on the way, most of the damage had already been done by the first, more powerful storms.
“There’s a sense that maybe the trees that were already in peril have toppled,” he said.
Work continued on mountain roads in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, where crews in snow plows were still trying to open routes to snowed-in communities. As of Sunday morning, Caltrans said their workers had made a dent in the overwhelming snow, working through the night to clear the roads. But most routes remained closed, they said.
Update 2/26/23 at 7:33 a.m.: Crews have been working overnight. We continue clearing operations to try and open roads. We will provide more information as soon as possible on these road conditions. Routes to mountain areas in #SBCO remain closed until further notice. #Caltrans8 pic.twitter.com/SUqSQyGWVW
— Caltrans District 8 (@Caltrans8) February 26, 2023
Some officials apologized for delays in restoring power service, while also highlighting the dangerous nature of the work to clean up city streets in a storm’s aftermath: DWP said one of their workers was seriously injured while trying to restore power to a neighborhood in the Valley.
DWP has not said how the worker was injured. He remained in intensive care as of Sunday morning.