Two people died in a submerged car in California, parts of the Pacific Northwest faced the rare prospect of snow on Christmas Day and high winds were forecast in New Mexico as winter storms swept west the United States.
In parts of Seattle and Portland, locals were bracing for an unlikely White Christmas, according to the National Weather Service. Strong winds could damage power lines in New Mexico. Rain in the Phoenix area could make the roads slippery and dangerous for drivers.
But that’s a different story for parts of the central and southern United States, where forecasters say residents will have to “be content with spring temperatures” thanks to an unusual heat wave for the holidays.
The extreme weather conditions hitting the west coast are brought on by an atmospheric river, a plume of humidity born in the sky of the Pacific Ocean.
Residents of western Washington in southern California are facing flash flood warnings, with snow and precipitation expected from Christmas Eve to Christmas Eve.
Flooding in California on Thursday proved fatal after two people died when their vehicle was submerged in a flooded underpass in Millbrae, south of San Francisco. Firefighters were able to rescue two people who had climbed on top of a car, but could not reach the fully submerged vehicle, the detective said. Javier Acosta of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
Meanwhile, evacuation orders have been posted Thursday in Orange County, California, due to possible mudslides and debris flows in three canyons where a wildfire broke out last December, county officials said. Orders arrived while the The Orange County Fire Authority reported a mudslide on Thursday evening. No injuries were reported in the incident.
In the Sierra Nevada mountain region, around 150 households received an evacuation warning after the discovery of cracks in the granite at the Twain Harte lake dam. Sgt. Nicco Sandelin of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office said there did not appear to be any immediate danger, however.
The evacuation warning came as the Sierras expected to see up to 5 to 8 feet of snow during the holidays, with the possibility of snow accumulation up to 10 feet high at higher elevations , according to the national weather service. He warned against traveling through the mountains, as snowfall should create dangerous driving conditions.
“Travel will be dangerous, if not at times impractical, in the hardest hit places with massive snowdrifts and whiteout conditions,” the weather service said in a statement.
But while parts of the western United States face winter weather issues, residents of parts of the central and southern United States are expected to experience record warm temperatures.
âIn Christmas parlance, that means Snow Miser has control of the West while Heat Miser has full control of the weather in Southtown without compromising on the snow in Southtown this Christmas,â the National Weather Service said in a statement. festive forecast.
âUnlike the West, those who dream of a white Christmas in much of the southern and mid-eastern United States have to be content with springtime temperatures this Christmas,â he said.
According to the Weather Service, Christmas Eve daytime highs in the mid-Mississippi Valley of West Texas are expected to reach the 1970s and 1980s, “with some places not only breaking daily records, but potentially defying records of December “overall.
Christmas Eve nighttime temperature anomalies are expected to bring “record hot daily minimum temperatures” from the Ohio Valley to the southern plains. Or in other words, “temperatures so mild that Santa Claus may want to wear a lighter red coat when he goes from house to house,” the National Weather Service joked.
By Christmas Day, the “spring air mass” with warmer temperatures is expected to reach the south-central and mid-Atlantic with highs in the 60s and 70s, bringing more record heat, “Including from the Tennessee and Ohio valleys to ‘Heart of Texas’,” the Weather Service said.
Daniel arkin and The Associated Press contributed.