California Airports Reeling From Heavy Rain

Local flooding is impacting pilots.

Heavy rain and snowfall have caused flooding and landslides in California this week. [Shutterstock]

For the past week much of California has been experiencing heavy rain and snowfall described by meteorologists as an “atmospheric river.” The heavy precipitation has been blamed for urban flooding, landslides, and at least three deaths. It has also led to numerous flight delays and cancellations.

According to the MiseryMap as of Friday, there were noticeable delays at both San Francisco International (KSFO) and Los Angeles International (KLAX) airports to Seattle and Denver.

Ground travel  has also been impacted as the California Department of Transportation reports landslides on highways and power companies report thousands of people without electricity as a result of downed power lines and felled trees because of the saturated soil. In addition, law enforcement officials in parts of Southern California have reported downed trees that appeared to have been caught in a tornado.

There is so much rain that officials in Southern California issued a warning about excessive rainfall. According to data from the National Weather Service, record amounts of rain fell in a single day in multiple locations, including at several airports.

Van Nuys Airport (KVNY) has received a total of 9 inches and KLAX 5.68 inches, including 2.37 inches in one day. Other one-day, record-breaking totals include Long Beach Airport (KLGB) with 2.31 inches and Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport (KBUR) with 2.08 inches.

Earlier in the week, Santa Barbara Airport (KSBC) was closed to all traffic because of flooding. Travelers were urged to contact their airlines directly for more information.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, some residents have been without power for more than five days and are bracing for another strong storm set to move in over the weekend, bringing with it more heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 60 mph.

This story is evolving and will be updated as appropriate.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter