The Latest: Storms bulk up California’s snowpack

PHILLIPS STATION, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California storms (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

California officials say January storms have pushed the Sierra Nevada snowpack to 98 percent of average to date, which is good news for state water supplies.

The California Department of Water Resources said Thursday that the snowpack is already at 71 percent of average for the state’s rainy season, which typically reaches its maximum by April 1.

The department’s John King said the second survey of the season found “a significant increase” from the previous tally. The Sierra snowpack was 67 percent of normal on Jan. 3.

Winter snow provides drinking water for much of the state as it melts in warmer months and flows into reservoirs.

Rain and snow has fallen across the state this week, and more wet storms are predicted.

A three-year drought emergency ended in 2017, but officials said water conservation efforts must


12:14 p.m.

A JetBlue flight has safely returned to Los Angeles International Airport after the crew reported the aircraft was struck by lightning.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson says Flight 324 from LAX to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York landed without incident Thursday morning.

Commercial jets are designed to withstand lightning strikes.

A vigorous storm system has been moving across Southern California with sometimes heavy rain, thunder and lightning.


9:39 a.m.

Areas of Los Angeles County near wildfire burn scars are under a flash flood watch as a storm moves in.

The California Highway Patrol reports an active debris flow across Pacific Coast Highway just west of Malibu and roadway flooding on U.S. 101 in Ventura.

Flooding is also reported on State Route 154 in the Buellton area of Santa Barbara County.

The city of Malibu says lifeguards have closed Zuma Beach due to lightning.

Malibu was one of the areas badly burned when the Woolsey Fire raced through the Santa Monica Mountains late last year.


8:45 a.m.

Neighborhoods near an area stripped bare by a Southern California wildfire have been ordered evacuated as a storm approaches.

Riverside County authorities early Thursday elevated a voluntary evacuation warning to mandatory for a dozen risk zones adjacent to the burn scar left by the Holy Fire last summer.

The fire ravaged more than 36 square miles (93 square kilometers) of the Cleveland National Forest in Riverside and Orange counties.

Thursday’s storm is expected to be followed by a brief break before an even stronger storm arrives late Friday.


7:00 a.m.

The first of two new storms is impacting California, and forecasters say unsettled wet weather will likely continue into next week.

Rain has been falling early Thursday from southern Sonoma County southward down the Central Coast.

The National Weather Service says Big Sur has already received three-quarters of an inch (19 millimeters) of rain.

The cold front has spawned a few thunderstorms on the Central Coast and is expected to move down into Los Angeles County by midday.

The current storm will be followed by a break and then a much stronger storm late Friday into Saturday.

Santa Barbara County authorities say they may issue evacuation warnings or orders for Friday’s storm.

Riverside County has already called for a voluntary evacuation of certain areas near a burn scar in the Santa Ana Mountains.


12:00 a.m.

Officials will trek into the mountains once again to measure California’s snowpack, in the hopes that recent storms have added to the state’s water supply.

The California Department of Water Resources will perform the second survey of the season Thursday in the Sierra Nevada.

Winter snow provides drinking water for much of the state as it melts in the spring and summer and flows into reservoirs.

The Sierra snowpack was 67 percent of normal in this winter’s first manual measurement earlier this month.

Precipitation has been up and down as California recovers from a drought that led to tight water restrictions for residents and farmers and contributed to severe wildfires.

A three-year drought emergency ended in 2017, but officials said water conservation efforts must continue.

Categories: California News