With temperatures plummeting across the West, Californians are scrambling to keep their homes cool as temperatures rise and wildfires rage across the state.
In many parts of the state, the heat has already caused flash flooding, and a series of tornadoes have hit parts of Southern California, including the San Gabriel Mountains.
The latest to hit, a tornado that struck a rural area in Northern California, killed a man and injured at least two others.
Meanwhile, the rain has continued to fall in California’s central Sierra Nevada, where the drought has left many communities without electricity, water or other essential services.
But the drought is not over yet.
The National Weather Service says there could be another severe weather event this winter that could be even more devastating than the recent tornado.
“We have not yet identified what we can expect this winter, but it’s going to be devastating,” says Chris Stearns, the weather service’s director of forecasters and disaster preparedness.
“It’s going a lot more extreme.”
With temperatures dipping in California and the rain continuing to fall, many people are scrambling with no plans to return to normal until at least the end of the year.
That’s leaving California residents and officials scrambling to figure out what to do about the looming crisis.
“I’m not optimistic that we’ll be able to get back to normal,” says Bill Miller, a state senator who represents parts of Los Angeles County.
“The drought is the most challenging we’ve ever had in our lifetimes, so you can imagine how that’s going.”
The storm has also left a deep mark on the state’s economy, which is already struggling.
While California’s economy grew by 2.6% in the first quarter of this year, that rate has fallen to just 1.7% in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
California has also suffered from the severe weather that has gripped parts of California’s east, where more than 1,000 people have been killed in the past month alone.
“This has really been a very painful period for the state,” says Mike Koval, the director of economic development for the Sierra Nevada-Toluca National Forest.
As the country prepares to celebrate National Cherry Blossom Day on Monday, many Californians have been taking stock of their lives and the jobs that could remain if things don’t improve. “
People are not going to work again.”
As the country prepares to celebrate National Cherry Blossom Day on Monday, many Californians have been taking stock of their lives and the jobs that could remain if things don’t improve.
“There’s a lot of people in California who don’t have jobs, and it’s hard for them to get up in the morning,” says Brian Johnson, a 40-year-old office worker who works at a local pharmacy.
“So you’re not getting up at 5:00 to make your morning coffee, but you can still go out there and get it done.”