Tornado, heavy storms and flooding pummel California

California weathers mudslides, hail and rain.


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A rare tornado touched down in Los Angeles County on March 22.

Dalet Valles, News Editor

California has been facing the effects of extreme winter storms — rain, floods, snow and mudslides. According to the Los Angeles Times, Montebello, a city in Los Angeles County, was hit by a tornado on March 22, the strongest to touch down in the county since 1983. 

Though spring has arrived and the weather fluctuates, winter storms are still predicted for the following weeks. Governor Gavin Newsom requested a presidential major disaster declaration in order to aid the areas affected. 


In late February, a heavy snowstorm hit San Bernardino County which resulted in 13 deaths. The snowstorm prompted road closures and also destroyed properties. 

“Back in Feb. 24, San Bernardino was hit with one of the biggest storms we’ve had in forever,” sophomore journalism major Allison Crawford said. “I live up in Devore which is right below huge mountains, so we normally get small amounts of snow if there are storms nearby.”

Crawford shared that the snowstorm trapped her grandparents in their home for a couple of days. Like many other residents, her grandparents were blindsided by the storm and were left unprepared — they did not have snow tires, had few groceries and even lost power on the first day of the storm. 

“By Monday the snow started to melt down and they were able to go to work and go grocery shopping,” Crawford said. “Also, the power was back on by Saturday so they were able to use the heater. But they did have to eat canned food that we had and whatever was in the fridge.”

As of now, San Bernardino County has been working to recover from the storm. Rain continues to pour down, but the snow has stopped. 


The Los Angeles Almanac reported that March 2023 was Los Angeles’ “wettest March in 45 years.” The cumulative rain reported for the month of March was 7.71 inches. In early March, the extensive rain prompted flood warnings for over 30 million residents of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno and Sacramento. 

Heavy rain has affected the infrastructure around California. The I-5 freeway through Castaic has been closed due to mudslides as a result of heavy rainfall. Lanes northbound and southbound on the freeway have been reduced to accommodate the unforeseen damages that are slowly destroying the road. 

San Francisco residents experienced heavy rain and hail storms on March 29. Flooding in the area caused road closures. The area had fluctuating weather conditions throughout the day as rain patterns changed and the hailstorms became unpredictable. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that winds in the Bay Area reached 81 miles per hour. 


On March 22, a tornado touched down in Montebello for the first time since 1983, whipping up winds of 110 miles per hour, according to The Los Angeles Times. Due to the tornado, 17 buildings were damaged and an additional 11 were red-tagged, according to the L.A. Times. The tornado traveled approximately 0.42 miles in the span of three minutes. The city of Montebello hosted a resource fair to aid businesses damaged or destroyed by the tornado.

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