A cold front turbocharged by tropical precipitation brought rare snow and heavy rain to some urban rooftops in Southern California over the weekend, with more in the forecast.
Extreme late-winter weather Sunday also affected the Midwestern and Plains states.
The leading edge of the California weekend storm was heading east and wreaking havoc as it continued to pull in warm energy and collide with cold air, federal forecasters said.
A squall line moved through Oklahoma on Sunday, with multiple tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings in effect. The National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma called the front a «remarkable, perhaps historic storm system.»
Forecasters blamed a derecho, or line of high-power sustained winds of up to 110 mph, which is above the hurricane force threshold.
The Texas Panhandle and southeastern Kansas were also subject to the extreme weather, federal forecasters said, where warnings for severe thunderstorms and high winds were in effect.
Snow across much of the rest of the nation, including the Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest and Northeast, would make overnight travel difficult, the weather service said.
In Michigan, the number of homes and businesses without power dropped to almost 300,000 on Sunday afternoon from almost 800,000 on Thursday, according to grid tracker PowerOutage.us.
In California, the mix of a relatively warm atmospheric river and cool air from the Gulf of Alaska meant that many residents of southern California’s high desert communities and valleys, including the Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Valley, woke up to a new layer of snow on Saturday. , according to the National Weather Service.
Video also appeared to show snow falling Saturday in Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana in San Bernardino County.
Record amounts of snow were reported in mountains from the Sierra Nevada to the Peninsular Ranges of southern California extending into Mexico.
In the past four days, almost 5 feet of snow has been recorded at Donner Summit, the Central Sierra Snow Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. tweeted. In that same period, Mount Baldy near downtown Los Angeles measured more than 3 feet and Mount Laguna in San Diego County recorded more than 2 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
At Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, more than 6 feet of snow fell in less than a week, with 5 of those feet in a 24-hour period. So much snow fell that the resort said it closed Saturday to «use the available staff we have to dig and clean up.»
Snow, rain and wind caused road closures and flooding near rivers and streams throughout California as the storm moved south and east from Oregon overnight.
Heavy snowfall and ice were to blame for Grapevine’s closure of Interstate 5, the main highway to San Francisco. It reopened Sunday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The city of Big Bear Lake warned Saturday that all roads into the community surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest were closed due to snow, with no available estimate for when they might reopen. Yosemite National Park said it would be closed through Wednesday due to severe winter conditions.
More than 76,000 California homes and businesses were without power Sunday late, according to PowerOutage.us.
Several inches of rain fell in Los Angeles County over a four-day period. Topanga Canyon near Malibu received 6.7 inches, Pasadena recorded 7.84 inches and 4.3 inches fell in downtown Los Angeles, according to the weather service.
Three RV trailers parked at the Valencia Travel Village RV Resort in Castaic, in far north Los Angeles County, were swept into a storm-swollen Santa Clara River overnight, prompting a search team and helicopter rescue from nearby Ventura County Fire Department to respond.
The heavy rain was especially dangerous for those without shelter. In Los Angeles, a helicopter rescue team lifted two homeless men stranded on islands of dry land in the Hanson Flood Control Basin to safety Saturday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a series of statements. .
The men were uninjured and were released at the scene, the department said.
Los Angeles County officials closed 24 miles of beach from Nicholas Canyon in Malibu to White Point Beach in San Pedro for nearly two hours Saturday afternoon after lightning was observed along the shoreline, according to county first responders.
In Arizona, where northern winter storm warnings have also been issued, there was a collision involving approximately 15 vehicles on Interstate-17. An unspecified number of people suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are receiving treatment.
In Michigan, which has been hit by an ice storm, some 311,000 utility customers lost power early Sunday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
Trevor Lauer, president of DTE Energy, estimated that 95% of the utility’s customers would be restored by Sunday, when warmer weather is forecast to set in.
The utility said it had more than 4,000 workers tasked with restoring power and going door-to-door to check on vulnerable residents.
The rain-making front that hit California was expected to move east across the nation during the first part of the week, bringing rain to the desert southwest, moving into the Midwest and the Great Lakes, and eventually hitting the East Coast with a new round of rain. rain and possibly snow, federal forecasters said.
Additional Gulf of Alaska storms were forecast for California and the west, but it was unlikely any would mimic the bizarre mix of tropical precipitation and snow-worthy cold that battered the coast overnight, forecasters said.
«In the future, this can definitely happen,» said Adam Rosen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Diego. “But they don’t happen very often. This was an anomalous event here.”