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Climate and Environment

Storms Across The US Cause Deaths And Power Outages. Thousands Of San Bernardino Mountain Residents Remain Snowed In

People in red inforvoms and hard hats walk past emergency vehicles on the left as two people with medium-ton skin carry plastic shopping bags from Stater Bros. on the right.
A crew of inmate firefighters walk back to their vehicle after shoveling and clearing snow, while people carry bags of food on Friday. A series of winter storms in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California left residents stranded due to the snowfall.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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Large swaths of the U.S. have faced an intense winter storm over the past several days, and there are currently upwards of 1.3 million customers without power and weather advisories across the country. The large storm system is making its way through nearly every U.S. region with heavy winds, flooding and snow.

In SoCal Saturday
  • The snow is sticking in the mountains for now. Down in the L.A. basin, it's going to be a mostly cloudy day with a slight chance of rain this afternoon, and warming only to the mid-50s.

  • We'll have more clouds overnight with lows down to the mid-40s and a 40% chance of rain tomorrow, decreasing later Sunday evening. Then no rain in the forecast through about Thursday.

  • The San Bernardino County sheriff said Friday that it may be as long as a week before roads are cleared in some of the hardest hit mountain communities. The California National Guard has been deployed to help and local authorities said food and other supplies as being brought into those areas.

Heavy winds and possible tornadoes damaged homes and buildings, killing at least 10 people across the South and Midwest. Now, the storm has moved Northeast, where the threat of heavy snow and coastal flooding Friday and into the weekend prompted the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning.

Still, by the end of the weekend, the eastern half of the country will see unseasonably warm temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

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The South

Over half a million customers across the South are without power, and all of the deaths so far have been there, too. In Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, falling trees or branches killed six people. In Arkansas, one man drowned after driving into floodwaters.

In Kentucky, dangerous wind gusts, flash flooding and possible tornadoes prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency Friday. There were three weather-related deaths in the state.

Announcing the third death on Twitter, Gov. Andy Beshear asked Kentucky residents to "add one more family to your prayers tonight" and "continue to be there for one another as we mourn these losses."

The Midwest

The storm moved into Michigan on Friday afternoon, blanketing the state in snow and causing more than a 100,000 customers to lose power and forcing the Detroit Metropolitan Airport to close temporarily. Last week, an ice storm left 800,000 homes and businesses without power.

Other areas of the Midwest can expect freezing fog and low visibility this weekend, and highways could get heavy snow paired with wind gusts.

The Northeast faces winds that could cause even more power outages. The National Weather Service says to expect heavy snow — up to a foot and a half in some areas — across the interior Northeast and northern New England through Saturday afternoon. On top of that, Massachusetts and Rhode Island may see coastal flooding.

In Southern California

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In the West, where the storm hit earlier in the week, some mountain residents in Southern California could be stuck in their homes for another week following a rare blizzard in the area that closed all of the highways leading up the mountains. Yosemite National Park got up to 15 feet of snow and was forced to close indefinitely.

The West is still blanketed under snow from earlier this week, and another storm system will bring more rain and snow to the Pacific Northwest and California on Saturday.

Resources available for San Bernardino County residents

An emergency shelter has been set up at Redlands East Valley High School. Resources are available daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the American Red Cross Southern California is providing meals. Residents can also reach out to a call center at 909-387-3911 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for more information. If you are over the age of 65 and unable to plow your driveway, you can call the Senior Assistance Center at 800-510-2020 for a list of contractors. Other local groups like the Rotary, Lions Club and Kiwanis will provide you with assistance.

FAQ on snow removal

What you should know about snow removal
  • Here's some information on the county's snow removal process as provided by the county.

    • Crews begin plowing when there is 2 inches or more of snow on primary roads
    • Primary roads such as Lake Gregory Road, Grass Valley Road, Live Oak Road, Green Valley Lake Road, Maple Lane and Valley of the Falls are plowed first, followed by secondary roads, which connect the local roads to the primary roads, then lastly the local roads, such as the ones you may live on.
    • Cinders are placed on primary roads and in school areas where the California Highway Patrol advises to do so.
    • In case of emergency and if you think local rescue vehicles will come your way, call 911 or the local police immediately. 
  • If your property is damaged during snow removal or cinder spreading operations, it will be in your best interest to obtain as much of the following information as possible:

    1. Note the date of the occurrence, time, address and any other information that you can.
    2. Get a description of the vehicle (blower, blade or bucket), the color of the vehicle, vehicle number and any emblems or insignias.
    3. Take pictures of damage if possible.
  • After obtaining this information, you should call the Road Yard Supervisor in your area and explain the damage to them.

  • If the damage was caused by County equipment, file a “Claim Against the County” form with the Risk Management Division, within six months of the occurrence. A claim form may be obtained by calling the Radio Room at (909) 387-8063.Be sure and include copies of written estimates of damage and photographs, if possible. Mail to Risk Management, 222 West Hospitality Lane, Third Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92415-0016, (909) 386-8631.Be sure to check with your yard supervisor first before filing a claim against the County.

What questions do you have about the weather we're experiencing?
A massive winter storm is hitting Southern California. We're here to answer your questions.
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