California is experiencing heavy rainfall, resulting in travel delays and flooding. Los Angeles County could see over 12 inches of rain through Friday. Airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hollywood Burbank are facing delays, especially in Northern California. Flood watches are in place in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Evacuation orders have been issued in Port Hueneme by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

Heavy Rain in California Causes Travel Disruptions Ahead of Christmas Holidays
(Photo : from NPR)

Heavy Rain Causes Travel Disruptions in California Ahead of Holidays

California is facing severe weather challenges as heavy rain leads to travel disruptions just before the Christmas holidays. The National Weather Service has reported that Los Angeles County expects more than 12 inches of rain by Friday. This extreme weather is causing significant delays at major airports and flooding various counties.

According to The Independent, the storm started in Northern California and has been moving south over the week. Now, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are on alert with a flood watch until Friday. Oxnard in Ventura County has seen several roads flooded. The local officials have warned residents about possible power outages due to the storm.

Read Also: East Coast Storm Unleashes Fury: High Winds, Flash Flooding, Power Outages Across Northeast

On Wednesday evening, the situation became more critical in Port Hueneme, a small beach town near Oxnard. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office had to issue evacuation orders because of the excessive rainfall. Residents have been advised to avoid city streets until conditions improve.

The heavy rainfall in California is expected to continue its path south through Friday before reaching Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix is preparing for potential flooding from Friday to Saturday.

This weather is impacting holiday travel plans significantly. The American Automobile Association estimates that around 115 million people in the US will travel during the 10-day year-end holiday. California's extreme weather conditions will likely affect these travel plans, leading to more cautious and revised holiday arrangements.

Heavy Rains to Hit California, Prompting Flood and Travel Warnings

A powerful storm from the Pacific Ocean is set to bring heavy rain to California and Arizona, raising concerns about potential flash flooding and mudslides. Forecasters predict that the incoming storm could match or exceed the rainfall amounts that the region received in August from the storm Hilary.

In California, especially in Southern areas like Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, rainfall is expected to be intense, potentially disrupting travel and causing dangerous conditions, AccuWeather reported. Santa Barbara already feels the impact, with over two inches of rain recorded. More than one and a half inches of rain has fallen in Los Angeles, mainly along the coast.

Experts warn that the heavy downpours could lead to flooding in low areas and streets, with blocked drains worsening conditions. Mountainsides facing south and southwest are at risk of life-threatening situations due to the rain. Streams and rivers are also expected to rise rapidly, creating dangerous conditions as many nearby lakes and reservoirs are already near full capacity.

The storm is not just affecting the coast but also inland areas. In mountain regions like Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, rainfall could reach up to 14 inches in some places. This raises concerns for landslides and mudslides, especially in recent wildfires.

Despite the intensity of the rain, snowfall will be limited due to the warmth of the storm. This means popular skiing locations in the Sierra Nevada will see less snow than usual. However, the strong El Niño effect indicates that more heavy snow might occur later in the winter.

The storm will move eastward, affecting Arizona and New Mexico by the weekend. These areas, already struggling with drought and past wildfires, are bracing for significant rainfall, which could surpass the total rainfall from individual storms earlier in the year. The storm will also likely bring thunderstorms and possibly hail in some areas.

Related Article: Storms Threaten Christmas Travel Across East Coast, Texas with Snow, Rain