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Pineapple Express Brings Flooding, Mudslides to California

Record-setting rainfall claims three lives, as the system continues to move south and east.

February 7, 2024

According to NPR, California is dealing with the devastation of an atmospheric river event that began this weekend, causing record-setting rainfall that continues to deliver significant structural damage, power failures, downed trees, flash floods, and mudslides to the state, as well as claiming three lives.

Referred to as a “Pineapple Express,” thanks to its origins in the tropical Pacific Ocean around Hawaii, the storm has prompted California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass to declare states of emergency. President Joe Biden on Monday pledged federal aid for the affected areas.

As of Monday night, more than seven inches of rain had fallen on Los Angeles, and more than 200,000 residents were without power. Residents have been warned by officials to prepare for life-threatening events, including widespread flooding and mudslide activity, as the storm continues to move south.

According to Kristin Crowley, Los Angeles Fire Chief, the rain had already caused more than 120 mudslides as of Tuesday, as the storm continued to linger over Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Along with showers and thunderstorms, high winds are also a potentially dangerous situation with this storm system, increasing the chances of flash flooding and high ocean waves.

Residents in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara counties have been ordered by officials to evacuate.

“California: This is a serious storm with dangerous and potentially life-threatening impacts. Please pay attention to any emergency orders or alerts from local officials,” Newsom urged in a statement.

If the tremendous rainfall wasn’t already enough, The Weather Channel reported snow in some California mountain areas. Donner Pass in the northern Sierra Nevada received more than four inches of snow over Sunday and Monday, causing traffic snarls along Interstate 80.

The severe weather in California serves as an important reminder for facility management, especially in disaster-prone areas, to always have a plan in place and never let down its guard against extreme weather events. To learn more about disaster preparedness, check out Prepare Your Facility for a Natural Disaster

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