El Niño Storms Drench Drought-Stricken West

The first El Nino storms descended this week and brought wet, windy weather to an area stretching all the way to the Gulf Coast.

A man walks a dog under rain clouds atop Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco, on Jan. 5, 2016. El Niño storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires.

Jeff Chiu / AP

A driver climbs out of the window of his car after driving onto a flooded road in Van Nuys, Calif. on Jan. 5. An El Niño-strengthened storm brought widespread rain to drought-stricken California on Tuesday, triggering flooding that clogged roadways, and authorities warned residents about possible mud slides. The National Weather Service says 1.42 inches of rain fell Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport, beating the 1979 record for the date by a tenth of an inch.


Pedestrians cross Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles during heavy El Niño rains on Jan. 6. The system Wednesday packed colder temperatures, stronger winds and heavier rainfall than the two previous storms that have battered the state since the weekend.

Richard Vogel / AP

Workers prepare for a Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony for actor Steve Carell, who was honored with a star, during a rain storm in Hollywood on Jan. 6.


An abandoned car sits in flood waters at a local shopping mall after a storm brought rain to San Diego on Jan. 6.

MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

A home's fence is destroyed by a mudslide after a storm brought rain to Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6.


A surfer rides a wave, churned by a winter storm, breaking underneath the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, on Jan. 6 in San Francisco Bay.

Ben Margot / AP

A downed tree blocks a highway as a storm brings rain and wind to San Diego on Jan. 6.

MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

Fire rescue and California Highway Patrol members carry away a man whose truck slid off Interstate 80 near the Nevada-California line and plunged several feet below into the Truckee River on Jan. 6, near Truckee, Calif. The man was hospitalized and his condition was not immediately known. The latest storm to hit the Sierra dropped a foot of snow on ski resorts around Lake Tahoe on Wednesday, with a couple of inches in the valleys and freezing fog that caused dozens of crashes on slippery roads from Reno to Fallon about 60 miles east.

California Highway Patrol via AP

Pearl Garner, left, watches as Marilyn Anderson, right, shovels snow from the sidewalk outside their homes in Flagstaff, Ariz. on Jan. 6. A series of El Niño-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region.

Felicia Fonseca / AP

Zach Bednar hits a ramp while snowboarding in his hometown of Flagstaff, Ariz., on Jan. 6.

Felicia Fonseca / AP

A girl takes tries to cover a shopping cart from rain outside a store in Hesperia, Calif., on Jan. 6.

David Pardo / The Victor Valley Daily Press via AP

Crews clean out debris from a drain at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, Calif. on Jan. 6. 

Mark Rightmire / The Orange County Register via AP

Trucks drive on the flooded 5 freeway after a storm brought rain to Los Angeles on Jan. 6.


People enter the water near Huntington Beach Pier on Jan. 6, in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Mark Rightmire / The Orange County Register via AP

A cafe sits on a pedestrian pier closed by authorities due to high surf from storms in Ocean Beach, Calif. on Jan. 7.

MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

A walker takes advantage of the clearing skies to stroll past rain puddles at Lake Balboa Park in Lake Balboa, Calif., on Jan. 7. The tail-end of a series of several El Niño-driven storms brought scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms to Southern California Thursday along with pounding surf and serious winds.

Michael Owen Baker / AP

Flagstaff resident Anthony Martinez pushes a motorist out of the snow in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Jan. 7. A series of El Niño-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region.

Josh Biggs / AP

A pedestrian crosses in front of the Monte Vista Hotel in historic downtown Flagstaff, Ariz., on Jan. 7.

Josh Biggs / AP

Morning commuter traffic travels through a section of ground fog in Solana Beach, Calif. on Jan. 8.

MIKE BLAKE / Reuters

A surfer rides a wave in Seal Beach, Calif., on Jan. 7. Larger than normal waves followed after days of powerful El Niño-driven storms drenched the region.

MICHAEL GOULDING, / The Orange County Register via AP

A rainbow casts its glow behind a palm tree near the Seal Beach Pier in Seal Beach, Calif., on Jan. 7. Most of California saw sunny skies again Thursday after days of powerful El Nino-driven storms drenched the region, stopping cable cars in San Francisco, stranding motorists and dumping heavy snow in northern Arizona.

Matt Masin / The Orange County Register via AP