Life-Threatening Flood Risk for 94% of California Population


Canyons and hillsides of southern California at greatest risk for widespread and destructive flooding disaster, including landslides, road washouts, and structural damage


February 02, 2024

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AccuWeather Global Weather Center – February 02, 2024

On the heels of a significant storm that brought heavy rain, strong winds and mountain snow to the West this week, another system will arrive over the weekend and into early next week, bringing widespread major impacts and travel disruptions. The storm, the latest and most significant in the current 'atmospheric river' setup, will begin to spread moisture ashore in California Saturday night and slowly move inland through Monday. AccuWeather expert meteorologists say that the impacts from the storm will include major flooding, blizzard conditions in the mountains, power outages, landslides, road washouts and life-threatening conditions in some communities. Rounds of large waves from the storm will pummel the California coast into next week. There will be the potential for overwash, coastal erosion, and property damage.  


AccuWeather Senior Director of Forecasting Operations Dan DePodwin stated, “Roughly 94% of California's population, up to 37 million people, is at risk for life-threatening flooding. Due to the numerous mountains and hills, even just a few inches of rain can cause significant flooding. The greatest risk of a widespread flooding disaster is expected across the canyons and hills of southern California, especially in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties.”

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Storm Arrives Late Saturday Night; Worst Conditions Sunday into Monday

The heaviest rain is expected to focus from near San Francisco to just near and just north of Los Angeles, where several inches may pour down over a couple of days. Locally higher amounts are likely over the west- and southwest-facing slopes of the Coast Ranges. The canyons and hillsides just north of Los Angeles and then westward to Point Conception are at greatest risk for a flooding disaster as 8-12 inches of rain can lead to road washouts and landslides. Burn scar areas are also more susceptible to flooding.

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Because of this storm coming only a couple of days after another storm soaked and blanketed the state-- travel and flooding problems from this next storm may be more extensive and much worse than those from the first storm. Expect major urban and small stream flash flooding as well as significant rises on some of the larger rivers in the region with flooding in unprotected areas.  

Strong winds can also accompany the storm and cause power outages. Coastal California and the mountains of southern California through the Sierra are at greatest risk for 50-70mph wind gusts while much of the rest of the state can experience 30-50 mph gusts.