By the Numbers: California's Brutal Storm

Record rain, triple-digit winds, hundreds of mudslides
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 7, 2024 10:15 AM CST
California's Historic Storm, by the Numbers
A geologist surveys a mudslide on Tuesday in the Beverly Crest area of Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)

The slow-moving atmospheric river still battering California on Tuesday unleashed record rainfall, triple-digit winds, and hundreds of mudslides. Here's the historic storm, by the numbers, per the AP:

  • Downtown LA: In just three days, Los Angeles got soaked by more than 8 inches of rain—more than half the 14.25 inches it normally gets per year. That's according to the National Weather Service's Los Angeles office, which has records dating back to 1877. February tends to be one of the city's rainier months. Only six days into the month, it's already the 13th wettest February on record.

  • Soggiest spots: About 12 miles northwest of LA, the hills of Bel Air got 12.01 inches between Sunday and late Tuesday morning. Several other locations in Los Angeles County received about a foot of rain during the same three-day span, including Sepulveda Canyon, Topanga Canyon, Cogswell Dam, and Woodland Hills.
  • Wind: A gust of 102mph was recorded Sunday at Pablo Point in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. While just missing the December 1995 record of 103mph at Angel Island, "102 is very, very impressive," says meteorologist Nicole Sarment at the NWS' Bay Area office. The top 10 strongest gusts—between 89mph and 102mph—recorded at the height of the weekend's winds were all in Marin and nearby Santa Clara County, the NWS said.

  • Mudslides: By Tuesday night, crews had responded to 475 mudslides across Los Angeles, per the mayor's office. The mudslides closed roads across the city and prompted evacuation orders in canyon neighborhoods with burn scars from recent wildfires. Emergency crews responded to 390 fallen trees. Those numbers could rise because rain was still falling, saturating sodden hillsides that threatened to give way. So far four buildings have been deemed uninhabitable and at least nine were yellow-tagged, meaning residents could retrieve their belongings but couldn't stay.
  • A silver lining: All the rain boosted the state's often-strapped water supply. At least 6 billion gallons of stormwater flowed into Los Angeles alone for groundwater and local supplies, the mayor's office said. Just two years ago, nearly all of California was plagued by devastating drought.
(More severe weather stories.)

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