"All Kinds of Flooding Are Going On" in California

December 21, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
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A relentless barrage of storms that has been pummeling California and the West with tremendous rain and snowfall since Friday will keep at it for one more day.

The last storm in the series will plow onshore over California tonight into Wednesday, sending rainfall totals for this entire event ranging anywhere from 5 inches to 2 feet in central and southern parts of the state.

AccuWeather.com Western Expert Ken Clark, who lives in the Los Angeles area, said Tuesday, "All kinds of flooding are going on... Swift water rescues have taken place." He reported flooding has been especially bad east of Los Angeles and in the mountains.

Since Friday, rainfall totals in Los Angeles have reached at least 6 inches.

A restaurant bike delivery man crosses through a flooded lane on Wilshire Blvd. in the Westwood portion of Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Clark relayed information from KDXU radio station in St. George, Utah, that "they are doing reverse 911 evacuations because of river flooding." In a reverse 911 evacuation, 911 calls the resident rather than the resident calling 911.

A dam on the east fork of the Virgin River in Utah was near the point of failure around midday Tuesday, posing an immediate threat to the community of Rockville downstream.

Clark described this series of storms as "epic" in his blog Monday and provided a breakdown of expected rain and snowfall totals region by region.

Snowfall has also been exceptional.

With the final storm rolling in through Wednesday, snowfall totals will be pushed to a whopping 20 feet in parts of the Sierra. On the top of Mammoth Mountain, a major ski area of the Sierra, a staggering 162 inches (13. 5 feet) of snow has piled up since Friday, making this the snowiest December on record there.

While the extreme weather is creating massive disruptions for many people during an incredibly busy time of the year, it will ultimately be beneficial for California, where water shortages are a major problem.

Many places rely on snowmelt from the Sierra for water supply. Clark says, "The L.A. metro area gets about 80 percent of its water from the drainage from the central Sierra."


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