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Historical rainfall for Southern California

Los Angeles, California has seen their third wettest two-day rainfall total since weather history books began back in 1877.


The Numbers

An Atmospheric River is bringing a historical amount of rainfall to the SoCal region. Over the past two days, Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, Los Angeles has received 7.03″ of rainfall. This is the third wettest two-day total in history, with 7.98″ being the all-time two-day record.

Though majority of the rain has fallen within a two-day span, it has been a rainy start to February. 8.72″ of rain has been recorded since Feb. 1, and this makes it already the 13th wettest February on record.

Annually, Los Angeles receives 14.25″ of rain on average. The rainfall from this event makes up over half of the yearly average.

University of California, Los Angeles received nearly 12″ of rain in 24 hours, making this a 1 in 1,000-year rainfall event.

The Impacts

On Monday, Feb. 5, over 900,000 customers were left without power as a result of mudslides and major flash flooding. Homes in the Hollywood Hills area and Santa Monica Mountains were told to evacuate due to the dangerous conditions that were unraveling.

David McNew / AFP – Getty Images

Many roadways were left impassible due to a combination of mudslides and flooding. More than 300 mudslides have been reported in Los Angeles, with at least two dozen buildings damaged.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Unfortunately, at least three people have died due to the severe weather.

Now What?

Rain is expected to linger throughout the day on Tuesday, with another 1 to 3 inches of rain expected in the foothills of the mountains. The drenching storm system is to move into western Arizona, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah as it expands eastward. According to the Weather Prediction Center, a level 2 of 4 risk of excessive rainfall is in effect for Tuesday for these areas.

Cleanup is expected to take several days, amidst all of the rubble. Power is also in need of restoring for over 100,000 customers as of Tuesday morning.

What is an Atmospheric River?

An Atmospheric River is a long, narrow region in the atmosphere that transport water vapor outside of the tropics.

They can carry an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River!

When the Atmospheric River makes landfall, they will release the water vapor in forms of rain and snow.

North America from space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

–Weather Forecaster Hope Kleitsch

What are atmospheric rivers? | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (

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California flooding live updates: Storm system still bringing rain and widespread warnings (

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