California Blizzard: Storms Close Roads, Cause Travel Chaos

By Anna Breuer on 25 February 2023
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Time to put the top up: A 1970 Cadillac DeVille convertible in Los Angeles traffic

The slow-moving winter storm that is hovering over the West Coast is bringing joy to some and causing chaos and aggravation to many while a different and extremely powerful winter storm brought heavy snow and powerful winds to the Northern Plains and Midwest Thursday, killing at least one person in Michigan and triggering major power outages, flight delays and cancellations, and numerous road closures.

As of 10:15 a.m. EST on Saturday, there had been 1,329 flight delays and an additional 177 cancellations on flights within, into, or out of the United States.  The airports in North America seeing the greatest impact from the extreme weather were Vancouver International, where 21% of flights have already been cancelled, and Los Angeles, where 10% of flights are currently delayed.

On Friday, there were 8,956 flight delays within, into, and out of the United States with an additional 501 cancellations and the airports seeing the most cancellations and delays were Los Angeles International, Reno-Tahoe International, Portland International, the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Seattle-Tacoma International, and New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the latter seeing 57% of its flights delayed.

On Friday, Californians began to experience bizarre once-in-a-century weather, a plethora of weather conditions that ranged from heavy snow, blizzard conditions, flash flooding, and thunderstorms.  Images of cars stuck in flood waters on Vineland Ave in North Hollywood were posted on social media.

Up to 5’ (152 cm) of snow was predicted in some mountains near Los Angeles, creating whiteout conditions winds gusting up to 75 mph (120 km/h). The conditions raise the risk of avalanches, according to forecasters.

A blizzard warning for South Central California for areas over 8,000’ (2,438 m) in elevation is in effect through 4 p.m. local time Saturday.  A winter storm watch is in effect from Sunday afternoon through Wednesday for areas above 2,000’ (610 m).

For areas covered by the blizzard warning, the NWS is predicting additional snow accumulation of 6” to 20” (15 cm to 51 cm), and for areas under the winter storm watch, heavy snow is possible.

Meanwhile, the NWS is predicting severe thunderstorms in portions of the Southern and Central Plains for Sunday.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News