West Coast Style Winter Storm

by Jana Ritter - Published: 12/12/2014

It may pale in comparison to the recent snowstorm paralyzing Buffalo New York, but they’re calling it ‘the worst storm’ to hit the West Coast in years. And while some Healdsburg, California residents were riding it out in their kayaks and surfers welcomed the big, choppy waves, thousands of others along the West Coast haven’t been faring so well.

Healdsburg CA Storm

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Many electric customers from Washington to California were without power and mudslides are blocking roadways and trapping people in their homes. Some beachfront houses have even plunged right into the Pacific Ocean as wind gusts reached more than 60 miles per hour across the Puget Sound. Many residents from southern California took the warning and had packed up their belongings and evacuated even before the storm hit.

For truck drivers like Alejandro Alcarez, the torrential driving conditions can only be described as “terrible.”He was travelling through Fresno County, California and said there was water everywhere and it was extremely windy on top of that. “The truck was moving back and forth like it was in an earthquake," he said.

The flooded roadways have already seen a number of accidents and several cars have been crunched by fallen trees. Parts of California’s most critical north-south highway, the Interstate 5, was closed from the flooding and in Marin County heavy rains washed out a portion of state Route 1. While the brunt of the storm hit the San Francisco Bay Area, crews in Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties, have staffed up and have been on standby for quick cleanups of mud and debris flows. Already at least five cars were buried in about 2 feet of mud on the Pacific Coast highway and their passengers had to be rescued, said fire Capt. Stan Zeigler.

Firefighters have also sent rescuers to pull at least one person from the Los Angeles River. LAFD spokeswoman Katherine Main said two people were clinging to trees in the fast-moving river, swelled by rain from the storm and the LAFD Swift Water team had been sent to the intersection of Glendale Boulevard and Riverside Drive in Silver Lake to rescue them.

The heavy rain is expected to continue through Friday evening.

Have you been driving through this West Coast storm? Tell us your stories.