California was enduring a mammoth rain storm called “Lucifer” or “weather bomb” that flooded streets, caused death and injury, and trapped motorists in sinkholes and submerged cars.
How much rain is expected to fall before “Lucifer” wanes? Ten trillion gallons, according to a meteorologist. On February 17 and 18, there were already reports of flooding, people stuck on freeways, trees falling on roofs, people injured and killed, and evacuations.
Four people had died as of February 18 – one from electrocution, and one person found in a submerged car. In Los Angeles County, two cars toppled into a sinkhole and police and fire officials staged a dramatic rescue. You can watch videos of it here.
The flooding was very serious; one man died when a flash flood consumed his vehicle, according to CBS Los Angeles. Another man caught up in that flood sat on the roof of his car until help arrived, the television station reported.
The rain was continuing February 18, although more intermittently than Friday night.
The heavy rain had started.
A woman was injured after her car toppled into the sinkhole.
According to BBC, Lucifer is expected to be “one of the strongest storms possibly in decades” and is also being called a “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb.” The San Jose Mercury-News reports that the storm is technically “a rapidly deepening extratropical cyclonic low-pressure area.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. So Much Water Is Expected to Fall on the State That It Could Power Niagara Falls For Months
According to KTLA, “Showers are expected on and off throughout the day” on Saturday, February 18.
Then, reported the TV station, “Forecasters predict a brief drying period Sunday before another storm system moves in through the middle of next week.”
Meteorologist Ryan Maue, who is based in Georgia, told The Los Angeles Times that 10 trillion gallons of water are expected to fall on California. How much is that exactly? He put it in this perspective:
“Ten trillion gallons of water is enough to fill 15.1 million Olympic-sized swimming pools or power Niagara Falls for 154 days,” the newspaper reported.
That much water also fell on the state in 2014, though, Maue told the Times. The metereologist predicted that “an average of 3.3 inches of rain will fall across the state from February 15 to February 22,” according to The Times.
2. It’s Unusual For a ‘Bombogenesis’ to Strike California
The San Jose Mercury-News quoted one weather expert as saying the weather pattern, which has formed over the Pacific Ocean, is unusual for California.
“It usually occurs when you have contrasting air masses, maybe more up in the Northwest, the Gulf of Alaska and the Northeast. We don’t experience it that much down here,” the expert told the newspaper.
This guy in a leopard skin suit decided to have some fun with it.
Two dozen flights were cancelled already at LAX because of the storm, reported Patch. The news site reported that hundreds of other flights were delayed.
3. Maps Show the Squall Line Pretty Much Extending the Length of the California Coast
There were flash flood warnings as the storm moved toward the coast and reports of flooding were cropping up as rain swelled in the streets.
Southern California and Baja California were getting hit by the storm on February 17.
Power outages were also reported throughout the state, affecting more than 61,000 customers:
4. Flooding Had Already Started as Cars Were Stuck in Feet of Water
Flooding had already started in Los Angeles, and there were reports of cars being stuck in feet of water on roadways. Wind speeds were also a peril.
Dramatic photos emerged of cars falling into sinkholes.
There was flooding on I-5 and generators were being used to remove the water. According to KTLA, “Major flooding has caused the 5 Freeway in Sun Valley and the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles to close.”
People who dared to brave the flooded streets had a tough go of it:
Flood warnings stretched up north:
People posted pictures of palm trees bending as the day started February 17, but the storm was just getting going.
Trees were down.
The wind speeds were tropical storm force in strength:
The Weather Channel reported that 10 people were rescued from submerged cars in Los Angeles’ Sun Valley, and “Seven people and two dogs were rescued from the Sepulveda basin along the Los Angeles River by firefighters with inflatable boats and ropes.”
5. Two People Died as People Were Evacuated & Mudslides Occurred
The Weather Channel reported on February 17 that there was already one death. A “tree was pushed onto power lines, which snapped and electrocuted a 55-year-old man,” the Weather Channel reported.
A second person was found deceased inside a submerged car.
There was an injury from the sinkhole incident, although it was not clear to what degree.
The Channel noted, “Reports of mudslides and power outages were widespread along the California coast, where inches of rain have caused major travel problems.”
According to the Weather Channel, four people were injured by a tree in Chinatown in Salinas.