Photo by Asia Morris.

The sun was peeking out today for the first time since heavy rains and winds pummeled Long Beach with record-breaking inches of water over the weekend.

Sunday marked the strongest, and most damaging, storm of the three predicted by forecasters with flash flood warnings, buildings being flooded and many left stranded in their cars on freeways and city streets. The Long Beach (710) Freeway at Pacific Coast Highway was one of the major areas left underwater by hours of sustained heavy rain.

Long Beach Airport set an all-time rainfall record at 3.97 inches, beating the previously set all-time daily record of 3.75 inches in January 1995, according to the Los Angeles Times.

While the downpour certainly caused delays and damage, the rain also brought out some of the most creative of Long Beach’s water-loving community. From kayaking down flooded residential streets to skim boarding and “surfing the streets of Long Beach,” residents took advantage of the temporary waterways created by the storms.

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Posted by Jesus Chavez on Sunday, January 2, 2017

On Sunday, two teenagers who decided to go rafting down the Los Angeles River had to be rescued by Long Beach’s Swift Water Rescue Team in North Long Beach. Mayor Robert Garcia commended the Long Beach Fire Department for saving the two teens during a news conference on 2016 crime statistics this morning.


Garcia said the nearly four inches of rainfall in just a few hours was a major strain on the system, “but we’re really proud of all of the firefighters and the police officers that were out, as well as our public works crews working on all the challenges.”

Garcia thanked them for cleaning up the downed trees throughout the city, for helping people out of their flooded vehicles and homes, and working up and down the coast to make sure people stayed away from the beach.

“[…]We want to remind people that in these major storms, the most important thing is if they don’t need to travel and they can stay home, we encourage them to stay home,” Garcia said. “ And the second thing is to remember that when folks dump items in the alley, or in front of their home, for example: a mattress or an old television, which we don’t like to see but we know happens on occasion, those items get trapped in our storm drain and cause flooding.”

In an emailed notification to returning Cal State Long Beach students before the first day of the Spring 2017 semester today, President Jane Close Conoley encouraged them to check their local road conditions, but notified them that the campus is open.


“Should your route to campus be closed, faculty are prepared to make accommodations for you,” stated the message. “You need not fear that you would be dropped from any course section as a result of poor weather conditions. Your safety comes first.”

The rain is expected to continue today, with sun and sporadic showers, perhaps a relief from the hours of sustained downpour that hit the coastal areas of Los Angeles County, especially Long Beach, yesterday.

“We just want people to be cautious, we have more rain on its way […] so just continue to watch and stay alert as to the situation and stay off the freeways and roads if you’re able to,” Garcia said.

A flash flood warning issued by the NWS will remain in effect until 6:00PM tonight, as well as a high surf advisory until Tuesday at 6:00PM.

For tips and resources from officials on dealing with wet weather, visit the article here.

Editors note: This article was updated at 1:30PM clarifying daily and all-time rain records. 

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].