Historic winter storm Olive approaches California as blizzard and flood warnings issued for Los Angeles
Heavy snowfall and precipitation fell on large areas California on Friday, and thousands of households in Michigan suffered power outages as the country was hit by one of the worst ice storms in decades.
The Hollywood sign was shrouded in heavy clouds as children in the Golden State made the most of the rare icy weather by instigating snowball fights.
Storm Olive, as it is called, also wreaked havoc on airlines, with thousands of flights delayed and hundreds cancelled.
The extreme weather has caused traffic jams and road closures. Many schools also closed their doors.
It comes like a storm took the first victim on Wednesday when a Michigan firefighter was killed by a downed power line. Weather had already dumped more than two feet of snow on parts of Utah earlier this week.
The Hollywood sign is pictured in heavy clouds on Friday February 23 during a rare winter in Los Angeles
Eight-year-old Gael Guzman makes snowballs with his family, including 11-year-old brother Aciel
Aciel is pictured making the most of the rare icy weather in the Golden State by having a snowball fight with his family
The National Weather Service warned abouta cold and dangerous winter storm,” which will run through Saturday in California.
Blizzard warnings were posted for the Sierra Nevada and Southern California mountain ranges, where up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow is expected.
“Simply put, this will be a historic event given the amount of snow on the high peaks and at the lower elevations,” the regional meteorologist said.
Interstate 5, the West Coast’s main north-south highway, was closed south of the Oregon border as snow fell on the Sacramento Valley floor and on a high mountain pass north of Los Angeles, where blizzard warnings were in effect.
Smaller roads were also closed.
Forecasters have warned of strong thunderstorms that could create havoc along the coast of Southern California.
A blizzard warning was in effect for parts of Nevada.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, hundreds of people climbed the 2,500-foot Mount Tamalpais to play in the snow, including 19-year-old Julian Skerrett of Corte Madera.
“Looks like we’re almost at Tahoe,” he said as the flakes fell steadily. “It’s like a powder day, pretty fluffy snow.”
However, in other parts of the country affected by the storms, the beauty was largely lost.
As of midday Friday, more than 300 flights had been canceled and more than 3,000 were delayed, according to FlightAware.com.
Ventuska’s map shows parts of the area highlighted in purple were covered with up to 30 inches of snow
Snow covers mailboxes in Anguin, Calif., Friday afternoon. A severe winter storm brought snow to parts of Napa Valley overnight
A vineyard sign is covered in snow as the storm batters parts of California and leaves 820,000 Michigan households without power
Much of Portland, Oregon, remained closed Friday, with icy roads not expected to thaw until Saturday after the city’s second-heaviest snowfall on record this week, nearly 11 inches.
The storms blacked out nearly 1 million homes and businesses from coast to coast.
Michigan was the hardest hit after this week’s storm covered branches, power lines and utility poles with ice three-quarters of an inch thick, leaving more than 820,000 customers in the dark at one point.
By Friday, that had dropped to fewer than 700,000, most in the densely populated southeastern part of the state, around Detroit.
Power is expected to be restored by Sunday – although temperatures are expected to rise above freezing by then.
Apoorva Gokhale of Walled Lake, Michigan said, “It’s very vague and very long.”
“There are four days without light in this weather. This is unthinkable.”
On Thursday morning, the electricity went out in her house. By evening, the temperature inside had dropped to 55 degrees (12 Celsius). She, her husband and son stayed overnight with relatives.
Tom Rankin, 70, said he and his wife were unable to reach their 100-year-old mother-in-law Friday morning by phone.
The couple arrived at her home in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, to find her in bed “with lots of blankets,” Rankin said.
A car drives through snowy weather in the San Gabriel Mountains in the Los Angeles National Forest on Friday
A truck drives down a snowy road in Angwin, California. The National Weather Service has warned that a ‘cold and dangerous winter storm’ will continue into Saturday
Elsewhere in the Golden State, heavy rain fell. A passer-by carries an orange umbrella in the rain at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Friday
The Venice Beach boardwalk was virtually empty Friday afternoon as locals avoided the rain
She was fine and the temperature in her home was around 65 degrees after she lost power Thursday afternoon.
A Michigan firefighter died Wednesday after coming into contact with a downed power line in Paw Paw, authorities said.
“We haven’t had an ice storm in 50 years that has affected our infrastructure like this,” said Trevor Lauer, president of DTE Electric.
In southern California, the latest storm began Thursday with rain and snow.
Flood watches and warnings were in effect until Saturday in some coastal regions and valleys, with rainfall likely to cause flooding and debris in some areas affected by bushfires in recent years.
Portions of Interstate 80 in California and Wyoming are closed, including a stretch of about 70 miles (112 kilometers) over the top of the Sierra Nevada that connects California and Nevada.
Evacuation warnings were also issued in Ventura County for four areas considered unstable after being hit hard by storms last month.
The storm added to heavy December and January “atmospheric rivers” that have improved California’s drought outlook, but officials who allocate water to farms, cities and industries remain cautious because of a recent history of dramatic changes in hydrologic conditions.
A dusting of snow covers the property of the Castello di Amorosa winery on February 24 in Calisto, California
The rare winter blizzard was one of the first to hit California in more than 30 years. The car was photographed on a road in the San Gabriel Mountains
The weather service said temperatures in the region could drop well below normal, posing a particular danger to the homeless.