By Abigail Kim
When you think of California, you usually envision an eternal summer, swimming in a pool, or maybe even taking a trip to the beach to get your tan on, but this past month has been anything but that.
California has been wet and abnormally cold, facing temperatures dropping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So much so that residents of Los Angeles are seeing almost 7 feet of snow on the mountains and flurries of hail down in the San Fernando Valley.
“This well may be the largest single-event snowfall in some parts of southern California since the 1980s,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain told the Los Angeles Times. “This is kind of a big deal.”
This kind of weather has been unheard of for the past 35 years and is continuing to shock Californians. With historic amounts of snowfall covering the mountains, some California residents are even getting trapped in their own homes, stranding them.
“It’s really bad up here,” Brooke Cutler, who is currently staying at her friend’s house in Lake Arrowhead, said in an LA Times article. “People are really in trouble and are suffering.”
The tumultuous weather originally started with a downpour of rain. Then, winter alerts and flood advisories warned of 5-10 inches of rainfall.
This compromised the safety of many Californians. The overabundance of rainfall led to mudslides and flooding prompting thousands of evacuations, leaving overflowing rivers, submerged vehicles, and mass power outages in its midst. Subsequently, as the temperatures gradually began to decrease, hail and snow began to descend, covering the mountains and certain areas of southern California.
“The dominant thing that’s happening is just that, in a warmer atmosphere, there’s exponentially more potential for it to hold water vapor,” Swain said. “And that exerts a really profound influence on things.”
The burning of fossil fuels heats the atmosphere, and warmer air has the ability to hold more water. Although scientists are researching the impacts of global warming on this severe weather, they have yet to come up with a conclusion.
Despite these atypical weather conditions, it is especially important to continue to remain safe within the protection of your own home. The weather could pose a danger to individuals that don’t take the right precautions.