LA hit by 475 mudslides after one of wettest storms in California history

By John Mercury February 7, 2024

Los Angeles has recorded at least 475 mudslides after one of the wettest storms in the history of southern California.

Officials are warning of further mudslides and flooding after a large amount of the city’s average annual rainfall fell in just three days – while seven deaths have been reported across the state.

LA mayor Karen Bass said: “Our hillsides are already saturated. So even not very heavy rains could still lead to additional mudslides.

“Even when the rain stops, the ground may continue to shift.”

Three were killed yesterday in the extreme conditions – and nearly 400 trees have fallen in the city.

Another died today in a swollen Tijuana River channel near the border with Mexico.

LA fire chief Kristin Crowley said at least three dozen buildings required inspection because of mudslide damage and hillside slope failures – and seven had been marked unsafe.

Prentice Sinclair Smith a friend of home owner Dion Peronneau says she was awoken by the sound of cracking around 4 a.m. early morning Monday, as mudflow forced its way into her home in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. One of the wettest storms in Southern California history unleashed more than 300 mudslides in the Los Angeles area after dumping more than half of the city's seasonal rainfall in just two days, and officials warned Tuesday that the threat hadn't passed yet. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Mudslides have damaged many homes across LA. Pic: AP/Damian Dovarganes

Workers pump flood water from the street surrounding the Inn at Playa del Rey, after heavy rains hit Southern California, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 5, 2024, as seen in this scree grab taken from a video. REUTERS/Sandra Stojanovic
Workers pump water after more heavy rainfall hit Los Angeles. Pic: Reuters

In Los Angeles, between six and 12 inches of rain fell, making it the third wettest two-day stretch since records began in the 1870s.

One city resident, Dion Peronneau, said her home was hit by a mudslide which knocked her sliding glass doors off their frame as it came pouring into her home of 25 years.

She added: “Eight feet of mud is pressed up against my window that is no longer there.

“They put up boards to make sure no more mud can come in.”

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Another heavy burst of rain is expected on Wednesday evening before the region begins to dry out, according to the National Weather Service.

The intense rainfall, with heavy snows in the mountains, was carried to California at the weekend by a storm system which meteorologists call an atmospheric river – a vast airborne current of dense moisture driven inland through a narrow corridor from the Pacific.

Experts warn such weather systems are likely to become more frequent and extreme if global warming from human-induced climate change continues at current rates.

The rain helped to boost some water supplies, just two years after most of California was plagued by a devastating drought.

Marty Adams, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said more than one billion gallons of rain had been captured for groundwater and local supplies.


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