El Nino Causes Severe Weather in California 

 February 1, 2016

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Fierce winds and heavy rain have been hitting Southern California. The storm has killed at least one person and left over 150,000 without power.

The storm brought winds up to 70 miles per hour in some areas, along with heavy rains that created the possibility of mudslides and flooding in areas that recently burned. Downed trees and power lines caused traffic jams in some places. Large trees were snapped by the strong winds in a region from San Diego to north of Los Angeles. An 80-foot-tall tree fell on a car in San Diego Sunday and killed the driver.

The severe weather is not over yet. There is a chance of thunderstorms, waterspouts, and weak tornadoes. Winds are expected to be 25 to 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 miles per hour on Monday from Los Angeles to San Diego. The system will bring snow in higher elevations. Areas in Los Angeles County over 3,000 feet are expected to get two to four inches of snow Monday. Areas over 4,000 feet could get over six inches of snow.

Southern California Edison, a utility company, has dispatched 200 crews to work to restore power to 80,000 customers. It encouraged customers to deal with power outages by backing up important work and files on computers, keeping their gas tanks at least half full, and using surge protectors to protect electronics.

The intense weather has affected other parts of California. In the northeastern part of the state, ice dams that formed on the South Fork of the Yuba River and rain flooded parts of Soda Springs. Crews were able to break through an ice dam by Sunday night, which allowed some of the water to subside.

Meteorologists are blaming the extreme weather on El Nino, which has already caused storms this season. The weather pattern is carrying low pressure systems off the Pacific coast that are making their way into the mountains and coastal plains.

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