Rain speeds snowmelt after Southern California's winter storms, a mixed bag for buried mountain towns

Summer Lin, Grace Toohey and Luke Money, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES — Recent rainstorms in the San Bernardino Mountains brought both reprieve, melting off much of the snow that had stranded some residents for weeks, and restlessness, setting off minor flooding and rockslides.

In Lake Arrowhead, Linda Knorr and her husband had been trapped inside their home for about a week and had to shovel several feet of snow off their property.

They were among many snowed in by a series of snowstorms early this month, which left some mountain residents without reliable access to food, supplies and medication.

Plowing the steep highways and streets that snake through communities of Crestline and Lake Arrowhead was painstaking work. Some residents were effectively entombed in their houses due to impassable roads or towering snow berms that blocked their driveways.

The Knorrs’ street was plowed once during the winter snowstorms, she said. Then rain from this week’s atmospheric river storm quickly melted much of what was left.

“We got several inches of rain,” said Knorr, 54. “Though more coming next week, and maybe some snow.”


As much as 4.3 inches of rain had fallen on the slopes of the San Bernardino County mountains by Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service, and the storm had mostly cleared out by Thursday. Officials said there weren’t any major issues from the rains, despite concerns about major snowpack melt under the new rainfall.

San Bernardino County firefighters responded to two calls late Tuesday and early Wednesday about minor flooding at residences in Crestline and Twin Peaks, but neither required evacuation, department spokesperson Eric Sherwin said.

Rockslides hit some roadways, Sherwin said, but most of the fallen rocks were quickly cleared by crews, never completely closing roads. The largest slide was along Highway 18 near Waterman Canyon Road, he said, though all were typical for storm conditions.

Runoff slowed a bit Thursday, he said, adding that although there was still much snow melting, officials were not seeing abnormal water accumulation in the mountains.


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