Sat, Jul

Pineapple Express Storm Hits Los Angeles: State of Emergency Declared


MAJOR STORM - A powerful storm, known as the "Pineapple Express," has made landfall in Southern California, prompting Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in eight counties, including Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The Pineapple Express, a term used to describe an atmospheric river of moisture-laden air originating near Hawaii, has brought with it torrential rains and dangerously high winds, leading to severe flood risks in certain areas.

Evacuation Orders and Warnings:

In response to the imminent threat of flooding and debris flow, evacuation orders have been issued in parts of Los Angeles County. These orders are considered "life-threatening," and residents are strongly urged to comply.

One particularly high-risk area is the La Tuna Canyon Road region north of Hollywood Burbank Airport. Residents in this vicinity have been ordered to evacuate until Tuesday due to the elevated risk of debris flow resulting from heavy rainfall. The affected area encompasses Horse Haven Street to the north, Martindale Avenue to the east, Penrose Street to the south, and Ledge Avenue to the west.

To assist evacuees, several evacuation centers have been established, including the Sunland Senior Citizen Center at 8640 Fenwick St., Lake View Terrace Recreation Center at 11075 Foothill Blvd., Hansen Dam Horse Park at 11127 Orcas Ave. in Lake View Terrace, and the LA Equestrian Center at 480 Riverside Drive in Burbank.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) has emphasized the dangers posed by debris flows, which can carry water, mud, boulders, and other debris that may cover vehicles and homes. Their advice to residents is clear: evacuate the area immediately with all family members and pets.

Additionally, evacuation warnings have been issued for various unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County near burn scars, including Juniper Hills and Valyermo from the Bobcat Fire, as well as Lake Hughes and King Canyon from the Lake Fire.

Severe Rainfall Predicted:

The Pineapple Express storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall to coastal and valley regions, with potential rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches in these areas. The mountainous and foothill regions could experience even more substantial rainfall, ranging from 8 to 14 inches, with a significant portion of this precipitation occurring within a 24- to 36-hour period.

As a result of the heavy rain, authorities anticipate road closures in mountainous areas, including the possibility of the Grapevine closing on Tuesday. Additionally, the risk of avalanches above 7,000 feet has been highlighted by the National Weather Service (NWS). A flood watch is in effect for Los Angeles County from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.

The NWS' Los Angeles office has emphasized the gravity of the situation, describing the storm as "DANGEROUS" and stressing the risks to life and property. They have called on residents to heed evacuation orders and stay off the roads, especially freeways, during the storm.

Governor's Emergency Proclamation:

Governor Newsom's emergency proclamation includes provisions allowing for the California National Guard to respond if necessary. It also facilitates unemployment benefits for affected residents and streamlines the process for out-of-state contractors and utilities to assist in storm damage repair.

The other counties covered by the emergency proclamation are Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

Multiple Hazards:

Apart from heavy rainfall, the Pineapple Express storm brings with it other hazards, including the threat of thunderstorms and waterspouts over coastal waters, as well as the possibility of small tornadoes over land.

Strong winds are anticipated, with gusts reaching up to 60 to 80 mph in higher mountain areas and along the Golden State (5) Freeway corridor. A high wind warning is in effect for most of Los Angeles County until 6 a.m. Monday.

A winter storm watch has been issued for the eastern San Gabriel Mountains through Tuesday afternoon, with significant snowfall expected at higher elevations. Downed trees, power lines, and power outages are also potential consequences of the storm.

Stay Informed and Safe:

Authorities have urged residents to stay informed through official channels and to follow evacuation orders and warnings diligently. For updates, residents can check the LAFD website.

As the Pineapple Express storm continues its assault on Southern California, residents are encouraged to prioritize safety, stay off the roads, and heed all official directives. This storm serves as a reminder of the region's vulnerability to severe weather events and the importance of preparedness in the face of such challenges.