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Preparing For Our First Winter Storm of 2023

A satellite image shows a large cloud mass over the Western U.S.
An atmospheric river dropping rain and snow on California on Dec. 27, 2022.
(Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere)
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I don’t know about you, my friend, but I’ve been IN THE HOUSE these past few days because of all of this chilly, rainy weather. And it looks like it won’t be letting up anytime soon.

Preparing For The Atmospheric Rivers

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If you do plan on going outside (I know…I know...back to work), keep your rainboots and windbreakers out because another big winter storm is coming to California, driven by multiple atmospheric rivers. Areas of Northern and Southern California are under a flood watch. It’ll be in effect here starting tonight through Thursday afternoon.

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What is an atmospheric river? *Puts on middle school science lab coat and goggles*

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, atmospheric rivers are like “rivers in the sky” in our atmosphere that transport water vapor “roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River.” They end up in the form of rain or snow when they make landfall and can cause extreme flooding. Atmospheric river storms are very common on the West Coast and we’ve already had two since Dec. 26th. This week, we’ll see our third one.

What’s already been going on in California?

Our Northern California fam experienced the brunt of atmospheric rivers at the tail end of 2022 and beginning of the new year. Residents were hit with heavy rain and snow. The Washington Post reported that San Francisco had its second-wettest day on record, and Sacramento County issued evacuation warnings due to impending flooding. Sadly, one person was found dead on New Year's Day in a submerged vehicle. Mudslides and debris flow were also in effect.

What’s headed for SoCal?

A big storm will hit us with heavy rain and cold temperatures today through Thursday night. Meteorologist Kristan Lund said we may see mudslides and landslides around burn areas.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

Regardless of whether you live in a flood-prone area, here are five things you can do to prepare for any storm.

  1. Check out my colleague Caitlin Hernández’s piece on flash flood warnings and read LAist science reporter Jacob Margolis’s story about how to prepare for a mudslide
  2. Sign up for L.A. County’s emergency alerts.
  3. Be prepared by making a plan and creating a disaster kit. In Northern California, tens of thousands of people have already experienced power outages. Make sure you are prepared for when your electricity goes out. There could be road closures. The National Weather Service advises you to have non-perishable food and drinking water at home in case you’re not able to leave. 
  4. Make sure your vehicles have gas and charge up all of your devices.
  5. Please take care of the vulnerable in your circle. That means the elderly and those with special needs. Also, don’t forget your pets. 

For more tips and forecasts, check out the National Weather Service. Stay safe my fellow Angelenos!

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As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding.

  • Nearly a century after it was seized from a prominent Black family, the oceanside property in Manhattan Beach known as Bruce's Beach was officially returned to the descendants of its original owners last July. Now,  Los Angeles County officials said the family has decided to sell the land back to the county for nearly $20 million, the estimated value of the property. 
  • The Housing Authority of the City of L.A. reported on Tuesday that it’d been hit by a cyber attack. The hacker group Lockbit claimed responsibility for the attack on Dec. 31 and is threatening to post stolen data if payment demands are not met
  • President Joe Biden has renominated Eric Garcetti for India ambassadorship as the new congressional session begins. L.A.’s former mayor had trouble getting confirmed (due to a controversial sexual harassment case involving a former aide), despite the White House believing in his qualifications. He now has to wait for Senate confirmation. (AP
  • Well, here’s some good news: California recorded one of the best snowpacksin 40 years. The measurement was taken Tuesday. Officials warn it could change but, right now, it bodes well for future water supply
  • Rick Singer, the guy behind the 2019 Varsity Blues college admission scandal, is set to be sentenced today. Singer is asking for little to no jail time while prosecutors are seeking six years. 
  • As we all know, navigating healthcare can be a pain in the gluteus maximus. Health care plan providers now have to provide online calculators for insured patients who want to know their out-of-pocket costs before going into the doctor’s office.  
  • January isn’t just the time where everyone sets their new intentions, it’s also a busy month for layoffs. NPR’s Arezou Rezvani gives readers advice on how to prepare for the worst case scenario. 
  • Despite women directing some of the most acclaimed films this last year, female directors are still hitting a so-called “Celluloid Ceiling,” according to two studies. This also applies to other jobs behind the camera like cinematography and film editing.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait... One More Thing

LA History: What Do You Know About St. Elmo Village?

The colorful pathway at St. Elmo Village (June 2019). (Lil Kalish/LAist)

It’s once again L.A. History day, my favorite day of the week. I have a really nice treat for us today. Come on, hop in my little yellow DeLorean coupe lowrider and let’s take a ride to the quite eventful year of 1969. Ahhh 1969. One of the most fascinating years in American history.

This was a pivotal time as our involvement in the Vietnam War continued, escalating anti-war protests and a countercultural movement with young folks wanting a societal change. This was the primetime for the hippy movement. The first man landed on the moon. Woodstock took place in upstate New York while the Harlem Cultural Festival was taking up shape.

Back in L.A. Roderick Sykes and his uncle Rozzell Sykes created St. Elmo Village, an art space for Black Angelenos to explore their creativity without societal constraints.

They hosted a festival to raise money to buy a bunch of bungalows in Mid-City L.A. that used to be Mary Pickford’s horse farm and created this semi-secret non-profit space that is still going strong today.

Read Lil Kalish’s story for more information about how it all got started. Roderick and Rozzell Sykes have since passed away but St. Elmo continues to offer workshops for adults and children in everything from photography to pottery. You can check it out here.

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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.