LOS ANGELES: The first major El Niño storm of the season battered southern California on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. The National Weather Service said 1.42 inches (3.6 cm) of rain fell at the Los Angeles airport, breaking the old record of 1.32 (3.4 cm) set in 1979.

Heavy Rain

Heavy rain was also reported in other parts of the state, forcing several roads to shut down and prompting flash flood warnings and power outages.  Although the rain eased by late afternoon, forecasters said more thunderstorms were expected on Wednesday and Thursday, and possibly Friday.

The National Weather Service said a flash flood warning remained in effect through the evening Tuesday for the San Diego region and other coastal communities where residents in low-lying areas were urged to move to higher ground.

El Niño Storms

Several El Niño storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. El Niño is the name given to a weather pattern associated with a sustained period of warming in the central and eastern tropical Pacific which can spark deadly and costly climate extremes.

Last month, the UN weather agency warned the phenomenon, triggered by a warming in sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, was the worst in more than 15 years.


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