El Nino storm triggers flooding in California

A driver climbing through a window of his car after becoming stranded on a flooded road in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Van Nuys on Tuesday. Several more El Nino storms are set to hit California in the coming weeks.
A driver climbing through a window of his car after becoming stranded on a flooded road in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Van Nuys on Tuesday. Several more El Nino storms are set to hit California in the coming weeks. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • The first major El Nino storm of the season has battered southern California, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas.

The National Weather Service said 3.6cm of rain fell at Los Angeles Airport on Tuesday, breaking the 1979 record of 3.4cm.

Heavy rain was also reported in other parts of the state, forcing several roads to shut down and prompting flash flood warnings and power outages.

Although the rain later eased, forecasters said more thunderstorms were expected today and tomorrow.

The weather service said that a flash flood warning remained in effect for the San Diego region and other coastal communities.

Residents in low-lying areas were urged to move to higher ground.

Several El Nino storms are set to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a severe drought.

El Nino is the name given to a weather pattern that is triggered by a warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. It can spark deadly and costly climate extremes.

Last month, the United Nations weather agency warned that the current El Nino was the worst in more than 15 years.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'El Nino storm triggers flooding in California'. Print Edition | Subscribe