Los Angeles struggled through an immense storm on Monday, unlike anything it had seen before. This storm, caused by excessive moisture from the atmospheric river, significantly impacted the community. Both those living in expensive homes and those without a roof over their heads were searching for a safe place to stay. 

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for approximately 2.5 million people in the Los Angeles area, including those in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Up to 9 inches of rain had already pummeled the area, with expectations set for even more. The NWS described the flash flooding and mudslide threat as “a particularly dangerous situation.”

As rainwater transformed streets into rivers and hillsides sent mud and boulders crashing down, more than one million people statewide found themselves without electricity. The storm’s fury was felt across Southern California, with rescue crews working tirelessly to save those caught in the swift-moving waters. Among these rescues were two homeless individuals evacuated from an island in the Santa Ana River.

In Studio City, behind the Hollywood Hills, the storm’s power was evident as floodwater brought mud and debris into the neighborhood. Sixteen people were forced to leave their homes, and two houses were damaged. Keki Mingus, looking at the damage, said, “It looks like a river that’s been here for years.” Her comments echo the community’s shock at the extreme weather.

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The Los Angeles Fire Department was stretched to its limits, with numerous reports of flooding, debris flow, and the urgent rescues of motorists stranded by rising waters. This force of nature brought the city to a standstill, prompting Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass to urge residents to stay off the roads, highlighting the dangers of fallen trees and electrical lines amidst the floodwaters.

Even as the city faced immediate challenges, the storm set long-term records, with downtown Los Angeles receiving over 4 inches of rain in a single day. This marked it as one of the wettest days in recorded history. The amount of rainfall was staggering for the area, as it surpassed the average rainfall for a full month.

Despite the chaos, the Grammy Awards proceeded as planned. Commuters navigated floodwaters, and the city braced for more rain, with forecasts predicting significant rainfall across Southern California’s coastal and valley areas.

The storm’s impact extended beyond Los Angeles, with Northern California and the Sierra Nevada also feeling its effects. In Yuba City, a man sadly died from the storm’s effects as a large redwood tree crushed him. Meanwhile, off the coast of Long Beach, a dramatic rescue unfolded as 19 people were saved from a sailboat incapacitated by the storm.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, mobilizing resources and opening emergency shelters in response to the storm’s devastation. Most public schools in Los Angeles, however, remained open, demonstrating a commitment to continuity even as the community grappled with the storm’s aftermath.

This historic storm will remain in the hearts and minds of LA residents for years to come. It showed the unexpected power of nature and its uncontrollable force in both the wealthiest and most impoverished areas of Los Angeles.