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LA County Experiences First Blizzard Warning Since 1989

Megan Hayes | News Editor

On Wednesday, February 22nd, the Los Angeles County of California received a blizzard warning with threats of up to 75mph gusts of wind as well as up to seven feet of snow, and handfuls of rain for those in lower elevations. This interrupted their typically warm and Mediterranean-like climate and left many residents delighted, as well as rightfully confused. As we know, California is known for toasty and arid summers and wet and mild winters, but very rarely snow or any type of cold snaps. The last time Los Angeles Country received a blizzard warning was in 1989, which is a major cause for concern as some residents are not equipped or prepared on how to handle the incoming snow. This lack of preparation, through no one’s fault, can cause major and possibly life-threatening problems like the February 2021 Winter Storm “Uri” that shook Texas, and left many freezing without power or any sort of knowledge in safe winter transportation.

Last time California was shaken with a snowstorm in February of 1989, the snow apparently “spanned from the oceanfront hillsides of Malibu into the desert canyons at Palm Springs. Most of the snow did not last, but 5 inches piled up in the Santa Clarita Valley, which caused 20,000 students to miss school,” via the Los Angeles Times as reported by Fox Weather. This may not seem severe to people who live in the northeast and routinely may receive six feet of snow outside, but for Californians who were in no way prepared for this magnitude of weather, it caused many issues like car pileups and traffic jams due to the slippery roads, wind, and ice. Ten deaths were reported in the last snowstorm, five of which were traffic fatalities. Aside from this, California also experienced major crop loss, up to $250,000 worth of strawberries was ruined by the freezing temperatures.

Local government officials are trying to get ahead the storm, but heavy rain is already reaching the area -- travel alerts are being urged to those both in and outside of this area. Residents are being urged to stay off of the roads and to continue to plan to be inside, as to avoid the challenges that come with driving in winter conditions unaccustomed to safety measures to take to avoid slippage, so we don't see pileups like the last major blizzard. People in surrounding areas, especially those with kids, are being urged to plan on another time to visit Los Angeles County, although the promise of snow may be alluring for some who do not regularly see it. A handful of articles have already surfaced along the lines of "Top 10 Places for Snow Play Near Los Angeles", despite warnings. Flood watches and warnings are being put into place, and residents are being urged to plan to stay off the roads. Vulnerable communities, such as the large homeless population in California, are at risk during this time and outreach initiatives are being put into place to offer assistance, shelter, blankets and food.


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