Winter weather causes havoc across parts of US as rare blizzard warning remains in effect for CA

The National Weather Service's Los Angeles office had not issued a blizzard warning since 1989

Sunday, February 26, 2023
Weather moving west as California winter storm causes havoc with heavy snow, rain pummeling region
As a major winter storm travels across the country, millions of Americans are bracing for treacherous weather conditions.

Millions of Americans could feel the impact of a major storm system that's bringing, rain, wind and snow to much of the west. It is then expected to travel over the heartland and into the northeast in the coming days.

As a major winter storm travels across the country, millions of Americans are bracing for treacherous weather conditions.

In California, powerful winds are toppling trees and bringing down power lines, leaving homes and businesses in the dark.

A rare blizzard warning remains in effect for parts of Southern California -- including the Los Angeles region -- Saturday as some areas endure heavy snow and record rainfall that has delivered dangerous flooding.

As a major winter storm travels across the country, millions of Americans are bracing for treacherous weather conditions.

An onset of severe weather across the West Coast has spawned unfamiliar wintry conditions at higher elevations, particularly over mountainous areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where up to a foot of snow may pair with 80 mph winds, the National Weather Service said.

Blizzard warnings are set to continue through Saturday afternoon. The National Weather Service's Los Angeles office had not issued a blizzard warning since 1989.

And the threat of even more power outages persists Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

The heavy snow and strong winds can ultimately result in near zero visibility for those in the area, even when snow stops falling because high winds can blow the flakes off the ground. Weather alerts have urged extreme caution when traveling.

High elevations at Big Bear Lake in Southern California saw between 20 to 40 inches of snow over the course of three days as of Friday evening, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency also reported that many vehicles were stuck Friday morning, prompting state officials to close roads.

At the same time, torrential rain is expected to continue lashing the Los Angeles metro area Saturday after the area experienced flooding a day prior.

"A cold, strong, and potentially dangerous winter storm will bring periods of heavy rain and mountain snow with gusty southerly winds to most of Southwest California through Saturday," according to the weather service.

Thunderstorms led to a ground stop at LAX. Departures bound for parts Of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona were delayed, with some arrivals diverted to Ontario, California.

The heavy rains are also raising the water level in the Los Angeles River by several feet higher than usual.

Motorists and vehicles were seen stranded after water levels rose and some roads became impassable One driver was stranded in flooding on Interstate 5.

During the late night hours, a flash flood warning remained for around 1 million people in Los Angeles, Glendale and Santa Clarita through Saturday morning.

"It's pretty treacherous conditions up north. There's a lot of snow, a lot of ice," said Joshua Greengard, PIO for California Highway Patrol.

Further north, the San Francisco Bay area is seeing its second day of snow.

"Legit snow, like no joke, not just a little dusting but legit snow here on the East Bay Hills," said Michael Sullivan, an Oakland Hills resident.

Ten-year-old Jackie Pierce got the chance to build her first snowman.

"Thank you weather for snowing," she said.

Portland, Oregon was also hit with more snow.

A state highway worker was injured after stopping to help a motorist after the driver of a van lost control after hitting ice.

That same weather system is expected to move east though the weekend, bringing with it damaging winds to the parts of the Midwest where residents are already digging out from a storm earlier this week.

Michigan outages won't fully return before Sunday

The aftermath of the same weather system that struck California and numerous states spanning the country earlier this week is still affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the Midwest.

Nearly 500,000 homes and businesses in Michigan were still in the dark Saturday following a powerful winter storm created dangerous icing conditions, according to tracking site Wayne County accounted for the most outages at more than 150,000.

DTE, one of Michigan's largest electric providers, is restoring power to stricken areas but cautioned it will not be able to return service to most customers before Sunday.

The storm battered multiple western states and the Great Lakes region, delivering batches of snow over several days.

Crews in Wyoming were in search-and-rescue mode after more than 40 inches of snow fell in the southern parts of the state over the course of several days and motorists were trapped in heavy snow, the state highway patrol said on Twitter.

RELATED: Winter Storm Delilah creates perfect condition for Lake Michigan ice balls to form

Aside from bringing most of Wisconsin nearly a foot of snow, Winter Storm Delilah also brought "ice balls" to Lake Michigan.

In Minnesota, Minneapolis officials declared a one-day snow emergency Friday due to heavy snow, and city crews have been plowing and treating streets. The city was hammered with more than 13 inches in a three-day period this week.

Since the storm began Monday evening, cumulative snowfall reached dozens of inches in some cities, including 48 inches in Battle Lake, Wyoming, 32 inches in Dupuyer, Montana, and 29 inches in Park City, Utah.

In New England, icy conditions likely contributed to a massive 15-vehicle pileup on the Massachusetts Turnpike Thursday night, according to a tweet by the Massachusetts State Police.

The Northeast, which hasn't seen much wintery weather so far this season, could feel the impacts of that western storm by Tuesday.

ABC News and CNN contributed to this post.