Categoria: California News

California Ends Some Water Limits After Storms Ease Drought


DUNNIGAN, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom ended some of the state’s water restrictions on Friday because a winter of relentless rain and snow has replenished the state’s reservoirs and eased fears of a shortage after three years of severe drought.

He also announced local agencies that supply water to 27 million people and many farmers would get much more from state supplies than originally planned. But Newsom did not declare an end to the drought, warning much of the state is still suffering from its lingering effects.

“Are we out of a drought? Mostly — but not completely,” Newsom said Friday from a farm northwest of Sacramento that has flooded its fields to help replenish groundwater.

Newsom said he would stop asking people to voluntarily cut their water use by 15%, a request he first made nearly two years ago while standing at the edge of a nearly dry Lopez Lake in the state’s Central Coast region — a lake that today is so full from recent storms it is almost spilling over. Californians never met Newsom’s call for that level of conservation — as of January the cumulative savings were just 6.2%.

The governor also said he would ease rules requiring local water agencies to impose restrictions on customers. That order will impact people in different ways depending on where they live. For most people, it means they won’t be limited to watering their lawns on only certain days of the week or at certain times of the day. Other restrictions remain in place, including a ban on watering decorative grass for businesses.

Newsom could ease restrictions in part because state officials said California’s reservoirs are so full they will more than double the amount of drinking water cities will get this year compared to a previous allocation announced last month. Water districts that serve 27 million people will get at least 75% of the water they requested from state supplies. Last year, they only got 5% as California endured three of the driest years ever since modern recordkeeping began in 1896.

Three years of little rain or snow have depleted reservoirs to the point the state couldn’t generate electricity from hydroelectric power plants. It dried up wells in rural areas and state officials had to truck in water supplies for some communities. And it reduced the flow of the state’s major rivers and streams, killing off endangered species of fish and other species.

But since December, no less than 12 powerful storms have hit California, packing so much rain and snow that meteorologists call them “atmospheric rivers.” These storms have flooded homes, closed ski resorts and trapped people in mountain communities for days with no electricity, prompting emergency declarations from President Joe Biden.

Amid all that carnage, water has steadily poured into the state’s reservoirs. Of California’s 17 major reservoirs, 12 of them are either at or above their historical averages for this time of year.

And more water is coming. Statewide, the amount of snow piled up in the mountains is already 223% above the April 1 average — the date when the snowpack is typically at its peak. Most of that snow will melt in the coming months, flowing into reservoirs and posing more flooding threats downstream.

“This is a good news moment. Those storms have brought record amounts of water into our state in the form of rain and snow, and that means we are in much better condition with our water supply than we were in the fall,” said Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency.

Newsom did not declare an end to the drought on Friday, even though the U.S. Drought Monitor reported this week that much of the state — including the major population centers along the coast and farmland in the Central Valley — are not in drought.

Water shortage concerns remain for some areas of the state, including a sizeable chunk of Southern California that relies on water from the Colorado River — a basin that remains in drought. In the north part of the state, portions of the Klamath River basin on the California-Oregon line are still listed as in “severe drought.”

“I know that’s disappointing for some because it would be nice to have a governor say the drought is over,” Newsom said.

California doesn’t have enough room in its reservoirs to store all of the water from these storms. In fact, some reservoirs are having to release water to make room for new storms coming next week and snowmelt in the spring. That’s why the Newsom administration has given farmers permission to take water out of the rivers and flood some of their fields, with the water seeping back under ground to refill groundwater basins.

Newsom made his drought announcement at one of those projects, a farm in the community of Dunnigan, off of Interstate 5 about 37 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Sacramento. State officials hope projects like these will replenish some of the groundwater that was pumped out during the drought.

Glendale Council Members Jumped COVID Vaccine Line, Lawsuit Alleges

LOS ANGELES — A Glendale Fire Department battalion chief is suing the city, alleging he was subjected to a backlash when he reported that the then-fire chief was ordering him to provide the coronavirus vaccine in the early states of its release to city officials who were not yet eligible by law.

Brian Julian’s Los Angeles Superior Court retaliation suit seeks unspecified damages. A Glendale city official did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Tuesday.

Julian was hired in September 1995 and rose through the ranks until he became a battalion chief in December 2016, then three years later he was promoted again to have the same rank within the GFD’s Emergency Medical Services, the suit states.

In December 2020, Julian was asked to assist the city in administering coronavirus vaccines during a three-phase plan enacted by Los Angeles County, the suit states.

The first phase of the vaccine allocation in the county applied to health care personnel, including personnel in emergency medical services, with the only exception allowed to prevent waste of the vaccine, the suit states.

However, in late December 2020 then-GFD Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas called Julian and told him that a Glendale City Council member and four city department heads would be coming over to receive the vaccine, even though none were qualified to receive the shot during the first phase, the suit states.

Julian reasonably believed that Lanzas’ order violated a federal, state or local regulation, the suit states.

In January 2021, Lanzas again instructed Julian to provide additional vaccine doses to other city department heads and City Council members, prompting the plaintiff to object, the suit states.

“In response, Lanzas became very angry with plaintiff and raised his voice …,” the suit states. “Further, Lanzas informed plaintiff that if (the plaintiff) refused to provide the vaccines to the various City Council members and department heads, Lanzas would provide them with the vaccines himself.”

According to another battalion chief, Lanzas was believed to be skirting the county’s COVID-19 vaccine regulations so that he could garner favors with the city of Glendale officials and departments heads, the suit states.

Less than two weeks later, Julian was removed from his assignment as EMS Chief and demoted to battalion chief of operations, a clear demotion in that it resulted in a pay decrease and had a negative impact on his ability to be promoted, the suit states.

Julian reported his concerns to the city’s human resources director, who took no action, the suit alleges.

Julian is still assigned as the battalion chief of operations. His reputation has been damaged and he has experienced financial losses and suffered emotional distress, the suit states.

Lanzas retired last April to take a leadership position in the private sector.

City News Service City News Service is a regional wire service covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Its reporting and editing staff cover public safety, courts, local government and general assignment stories. Contact the City News Service newsroom at 310-481-0404 or

TV Producer Chuck Lorre Donates $30 Million To Cedars-Sinai To Train New Health Care Professionals 

LOS ANGELES — Television producer and writer Chuck Lorre has created some of the most recognizable roles in entertainment. He is turning his attention toward creating some of the most important roles in medicine.

The Chuck Lorre Foundation has made a $30 million donation for the creation of a new school at Cedars-Sinai for those seeking to grow their health care career opportunities.

The Chuck Lorre School of Allied Health will provide training for emerging health care professionals in six areas that are chronically understaffed. Students will be able to pursue education and training in respiratory therapy, pharmacy technician, clinical laboratory science, MRI technology, radiologic technology or echo/cardio technology, areas identified as the most in-demand staffing needs in hospital settings.

“We are honored that Chuck Lorre and his foundation have chosen to continually invest in Cedars-Sinai’s flourishing programs,” said Arthur J. Ochoa, JD, senior vice president of Advancement and chief advancement officer for Cedars-Sinai. “The foundation’s forward thinking will help develop future generations of Cedars-Sinai caliber professionals.”

Within three years, those in the initial class of approximately 50 students are expected to start professional careers at Cedars-Sinai and become certified in their chosen fields. The goal is to double enrollment to more than 100 students in the program in seven years.

The programs will run from six months to two years, with in-person and online courses and students receiving paid positions while training. Tuition support is available for those eligible for financial aid.

“Choosing to collaborate with Cedars-Sinai, one of health care’s most respected institutions, was not a tough call for me,” said Lorre, whose many TV hits include “Two and a Half Men,” “The Kominsky Method,” “Mom” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

“When the opportunity presented itself to provide training and certificates for underserved individuals in our community, which in some instances would double their salaries, I was all in. Partnering with Cedars-Sinai to create the school of allied health will allow us to see long-term impacts in our communities.”

City News Service City News Service is a regional wire service covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Its reporting and editing staff cover public safety, courts, local government and general assignment stories. Contact the City News Service newsroom at 310-481-0404 or

First Republic Secures $30B Rescue From Large Banks

By Matt Egan, Allison Morrow and David Goldman | CNN

First Republic Bank, facing a crisis of confidence from investors and customers, is set to receive a $30 billion lifeline from a group of America’s largest banks.

“This show of support by a group of large banks is most welcome, and demonstrates the resilience of the banking system,” the Treasury Department said in a statement Thursday.

The major banks include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Truist.

The $30 billion infusion will give the struggling San Francisco lender much-needed cash to meet customer withdrawals and buttress confidence in the US banking system during a tumultuous moment for lenders.

A First Republic spokesman declined to comment.

In a statement, the banks said their action “reflects their confidence in First Republic and in banks of all sizes,” adding that “regional, midsize and small banks are critical to the health and functioning of our financial system.”

Markets on edge over liquidity woes First Republic’s shares, which were halted several times for volatility Thursday, ended the day up more than 10%.

The bank’s problems underscored continued worries about the banking system in the aftermath of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Both Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings downgraded First Republic Bank’s credit rating on Wednesday over concerns that depositors could pull their cash.

Many regional banks, including First Republic, have large amounts of uninsured deposits above the $250,000 FDIC limit. Although not close to SVB’s massive percentage of uninsured deposits (94% of its total), First Republic has a sizable 68% of total deposits that are uninsured, according to S&P Global.

That led many customers to exit the bank and put their money elsewhere, creating a problem for First Republic: It has to borrow money or sell assets to pay customers their deposits in cash.

To make money, banks use a portion of customers’ deposits to give out loans to other customers. But First Republic has an unusually large 111% liability-to-deposit ratio, S&P Global says. That means the bank has lent out more money than it has in deposits from customers, making it a particularly risky bet for investors.

The Federal Reserve created a loan system designed to prevent regional banks from failing after SVB collapsed. The facility will allow banks to give the Fed their Treasury bonds as collateral for one-year loans. In return, the Fed will give banks the value that the banks paid for the Treasuries, which have plunged in the past year as the Fed has hiked interest rates.

That extraordinary federal intervention appears to have been insufficient to keep investors satisfied.

First Republic on Sunday announced a deal with JPMorgan to gain fast access to cash if needed, and the bank then said it had $70 billion in unused assets that it could quickly use to pay customers’ withdrawals if needed.

San Francisco Slavery-Reparations Idea: $5 Million Per Black Person


SAN FRANCISCO — Payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years and homes in San Francisco for just $1 a family.

These are just some of the recommendations made by a city-appointed reparations committee tasked with a thorny question: What would it take to atone for the centuries of U.S. slavery and generations of systemic racism that continue to keep Black Americans on the bottom rungs of health, education and economic prosperity, and overrepresented in prisons and homeless populations?

A first hearing before the city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday could offer a glimpse of the board’s appetite for advancing a reparations plan that would be unmatched nationwide in specificity and breadth. Critics have slammed it as financially and politically impossible. One conservative analyst estimated that each non-Black family in the city would have to pay at least $600,000.

RELATED: California weighs $360,000 in reparations to eligible Black residents

Some supervisors have said San Francisco can’t afford any major reparations payments right now, given the city’s deep deficit amid a tech industry downturn, but they still want to discuss the proposals and consider future solutions. The board can vote to change, adopt or reject any or all the recommendations.

But reparations committee members consider their results to be an accurate estimate of what it would take to begin to repair the enduring damage of slavery and discrimination, and they bristle at the idea that they should figure out how to pay for it.

“We are the harmed,” said Eric McDonnell, chair of San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee. “If the judge ruled in our favor, the judge would not turn to us and say, ‘Help them figure out how to make this work.’”

RELATED: City National Bank to pay $31M redlining settlement, largest in US history

The idea of paying compensation for slavery has gained traction across cities and universities. In 2020, California became the first state to form a reparations task force and is still struggling to put a price tag on what is owed.

The idea has not been taken up at the federal level.

Fewer than 50,000 Black people still live in San Francisco, and it’s not clear how many would be eligible. Possible criteria include having lived in the city during certain time periods and descending from someone “incarcerated for the failed War on Drugs.”

RELATED: Netherlands issues apology for its role in slave trade

Critics say the payouts make no sense in a state and city that never enslaved Black people. Opponents generally say taxpayers who were never slave owners should not have to pay money to people who were not enslaved.

Advocates say that view ignores a wealth of data and historical evidence showing how long after U.S. slavery officially ended in 1865, government policies and practices worked to imprison Black people at higher rates, deny access to home and business loans and restrict where they could work and live.

“There’s still a veiled perspective that, candidly, Black folks don’t deserve this,” said McDonnell. “The number itself, $5 million, is actually low when you consider the harm.”

RELATED: Reparations task force: State could owe Black Californians hundreds of thousands of dollars

Justin Hansford, professor at Howard University School of Law, says no municipal reparations plan will have enough money to right the wrongs of slavery, but he appreciates any attempts to “genuinely, legitimately, authentically” make things right. And that includes cash, he said.

“If you’re going to try to say you’re sorry, you have to speak in the language that people understand, and money is that language,” he said.

RELATED: California panel OKs reparations limit for slave descendants

Black residents once made up more than 13% of San Francisco’s population, but more than 50 years later, they account for less than 6% of the city’s residents — and 38% of its homeless population. The Fillmore District once thrived with Black-owned night clubs and shops until government redevelopment in the 1960s forced out residents.

RELATED: Bruce family’s sale of returned land sparks debate about social responsibility

John Dennis, chair of the San Francisco Republican Party, does not support reparations although he says he’d support a serious conversation on the topic. He doesn’t consider the board’s discussion of $5 million payments to be one.

“This conversation we’re having in San Francisco is completely unserious. They just threw a number up, there’s no analysis,” Dennis said. “It seems ridiculous, and it also seems that this is the one city where it could possibly pass.”

Led by Supervisor Shamann Walton, the board created the 15-member reparations committee in late 2020, months after California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a statewide task force amid national turmoil after a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a Black man.

RELATED: Black, Mexican families seek restitution for Palm Springs evictions, call them ‘shameful secret’

At Tuesday’s hearing, the board could direct staff to conduct further research, write legislation or schedule more meetings. The committee’s final report is due in June.

California’s task force continues to deliberate recommendations, including monetary compensation. Its report is due to the Legislature on July 1. At that point, it will be up to lawmakers to draft and pass legislation, often a time-consuming process.

The state panel made the controversial decision in March to limit reparations to descendants of Black people who were in the country in the 19th century. Some reparations advocates said that approach misses the ongoing harms that Black immigrants suffer.

RELATED: How should reparations work? LA commission wants to hear from you

Under San Francisco’s draft recommendation, a person must be at least 18 years old and have identified as “Black/African American” in public documents for at least 10 years. Eligible people must also meet two of eight other criteria, though the list may change.

Those criteria include being born in or migrating to San Francisco between 1940 and 1996 and living in the city for least 13 years; being displaced from San Francisco by urban renewal between 1954 and 1973, or the descendant of someone who was; attending the city’s public schools before they were fully desegregated; or being a descendant of an enslaved U.S. person before 1865.

RELATED: California should take these steps to repay Black residents, reparations report says

The Chicago suburb of Evanston became the first U.S. city to fund reparations. The city gave money to qualifying people for home repairs, downpayments and interest or late penalties due on property in the city. In December, the Boston City Council approved of a reparations study task force.

Feds Backstop All Deposits Of Failed Silicon Valley Bank, Second Bay Area Bank Plunges

SANTA CLARA — Federal officials moved to insure all deposits at failed Silicon Valley Bank, hoping to inoculate the banking system against contagion, but shares of another Bay Area regional bank plunged on Monday.

Dozens of customers lined up at the doors of the Santa Clara headquarters of the fallen Silicon Valley Bank on Monday to await the opening of the financial firm’s doors. The bank began to allow customers into the bank at 10 a.m.

The move to protect Silicon Valley Bank depositors arose over fears that tech startups might be forced to shut down or furlough employees due to a cash squeeze if their uninsured deposits weren’t available to tap for their ongoing operations — andas well as to ward off runs against other banks with a high percentage of uninsured deposits.

The U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. teamed up to lead the quest against a banking system contagion in the wake of the collapse and takeover by the FDIC of the insolvent Silicon Valley Bank.

“The FDIC today transferred all deposits — both insured and uninsured — and substantially all assets of the former Silicon Valley Bank to a newly created, full-service FDIC-operated ‘bridge bank’ in an action designed to protect all depositors of Silicon Valley Bank,” the FDIC announced Monday.

Signs quickly emerged on Monday, however, that Wall Street and big investors were skeptical about the federal actions in the case of Santa Clara-based Silicon Valley Bank.

San Francisco-based First Republic Bank’s shares nosedived Monday morning and plunged 64% in early session trades on Monday.

Like Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic is a regional bank with a considerable amount of wealthy depositors.

Investors became queasy about First Republic Bank after the bank announced Sunday that the FDIC and JPMorgan Chase (Chase Bank) had teamed up to provide access to $70 billion in funds through an array of sources.

New York City-based Signature Bank joined Silicon Valley Bank in a collapse and was taken over by the FDIC during the weekend.

In a fresh sign of skepticism over small banks, federal officials failed to round up a buyer for Silicon Valley Bank despite an hours-long auction on Sunday.

George Avalos | Business Reporter George Avalos is a business reporter for the Bay Area News Group. He covers the economy, jobs, PG&E, Chevron, financial companies and commercial real estate.

Biden To Announce Australia Submarine Deal In San Diego

By ZEKE MILLER | AP White House Correspondent

President Joe Biden is set to meet with two of America’s closest allies to announce that Australia will purchase nuclear-powered attack submarines from the U.S. to modernize its fleet as concerns grow about China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden was traveling Monday to San Diego for talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on an 18-month-old nuclear partnership given the acronym AUKUS.

The partnership, announced in 2021, enabled Australia to access nuclear-powered submarines, which are stealthier and more capable than conventionally powered vessels, as a counterweight to China’s military buildup.

San Diego is Biden’s first stop on a three-day trip to California and Nevada. He will discuss gun violence prevention in the community of Monterey Park, California, and his plans to lower prescription drug costs in Las Vegas. The trip will include fundraising stops as Biden steps up his political activities before an expected announcement next month that he will seek reelection in 2024.

Australia is buying up to five Virginia-class boats as part of AUKUS, according to two people familiar with the arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the plans. A future generation of submarines will be built in the U.K. and in Australia with U.S. technology and support.

The U.S. would also step up its port visits in Australia to provide the country with more familiarity with the nuclear-powered technology before it has such subs of its own.

Biden will also meet individually with Albanese and Sunak, an opportunity to coordinate strategy on Russia’s war in Ukraine, the global economy and more.

The secretly brokered AUKUS deal included the Australian government’s cancellation of a $66 billion contract for a French-built fleet of conventional submarines, which sparked a diplomatic row within the Western alliance that took months to mend.

China has argued that the AUKUS deal violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It contends that the transfer of nuclear weapons materials from a nuclear-weapon state to a non-nuclear-weapon state is a “blatant” violation of the spirit of the pact. Australian officials have pushed back against the criticism, arguing that it they are working to acquire nuclear-powered, not nuclear-armed, submarines.

“The question is really how does China choose to respond because Australia is not backing away from what it — what it sees to be doing in its own interests here,” said Charles Edel, a senior adviser and Australia chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I think that probably from Beijing’s perspective they’ve already counted out Australia as a wooable mid country. It seemed to have fully gone into the U.S. camp.”

Before he departed for California, Biden spoke about steps the administration is taking to safeguard depositors and protect against broader economic hardship after the second- and third-largest bank failures in U.S. history.

Biden said the nation’s financial systems are safe. He said he’d seek to hold accountable those responsible for the bank failures, called for better oversight and regulation of larger banks and promised that taxpayers would not pay the bill for any losses.

“Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe,” Biden said.

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La Niña, Which Worsens Atlantic Hurricanes And Western Drought, Is Gone


WASHINGTON — After three nasty years, the La Niña weather phenomenon that increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought is gone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

That’s usually good news for the United States and other parts of the world, including drought-stricken northeast Africa, scientists said.

The globe is now in what’s considered a “neutral” condition and probably trending to an El Niño in late summer or fall, said climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux, head of NOAA’s El Niño/La Niña forecast office.

“It’s over,” said research scientist Azhar Ehsan, who heads Columbia University’s El Niño/La Niña forecasting. “Mother Nature thought to get rid of this one because it’s enough.”

La Niña is a natural and temporary cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. In the United States, because La Niña is connected to more Atlantic storms and deeper droughts and wildfires in the West, La Ninas often are more damaging and expensive than their more famous flip side, El Niño, experts said and studies show.

Generally, American agriculture is more damaged by La Niña than El Niño. If the globe jumps into El Niño it means more rain for the Midwestern corn belt and grains in general and could be beneficial, said Michael Ferrari, chief scientific officer of Climate Alpha, a firm that advises investors on financial decisions based on climate.

When there’s a La Niña, there are more storms in the Atlantic during hurricane season because it removes conditions that suppress storm formation. Neutral or El Niño conditions make it harder for storms to get going, but not impossible, scientists said.

Over the last three years, the U.S. has been hit by 14 hurricanes and tropical storms that caused a billion dollars or more in damage, totalling $252 billion in costs, according to NOAA economist and meteorologist Adam Smith said. La Niña and people building in harm’s way were factors, he said.

La Niña tends to make Western Africa wet, but Eastern Africa, around Somalia, dry. The opposite happens in El Niño with drought-struck Somalia likely to get steady “short rains,” Ehsan said. La Niña has wetter conditions for Indonesia, parts of Australia and the Amazon, but those areas are drier in El Niño, according to NOAA.

El Niño means more heat waves for India and Pakistan and other parts of South Asia and weaker monsoons there, Ehsan said.

This particular La Niña, which started in September 2020 but is considered three years old because it affected three different winters, was unusual and one of the longest on record. It took a brief break in 2021 but came roaring back with record intensity.

“I’m sick of this La Niña,” Ehsan said. L’Heureux agreed, saying she’s ready to talk about something else.

The few other times that there’s been a triple-dip La Niña have come after strong El Niños and there’s clear physics on why that happens. But that’s not what happened with this La Niña, L’Heureux said. This one didn’t have a strong El Niño before it.

Even though this La Niña has confounded scientists in the past, they say the signs of it leaving are clear: Water in the key part of the central Pacific warmed to a bit more than the threshold for a La Niña in February, the atmosphere showed some changes and along the eastern Pacific near Peru, there’s already El Niño-like warming brewing on the coast, L’Heureux said.

Think of a La Niña or El Niño as something that pushes the weather system from the Pacific with ripple effects worldwide, L’Heureux said. When there are neutral conditions like now, there’s less push from the Pacific. That means other climatic factors, including the long-term warming trend, have more influence in day-to-day weather, she said.

Without an El Niño or La Niña, forecasters have a harder time predicting seasonal weather trends for summer or fall because the Pacific Ocean has such a big footprint in weeks-long forecasts.

El Niño forecasts made in the spring are generally less reliable than ones made other times of year, so scientists are less sure about what will happen next, L’Heureux said. But NOAA’s forecast said there’s a 60% chance that El Niño will take charge come fall.

There’s also a 5% chance that La Niña will return for an unprecedented fourth dip. L’Heureux said she really doesn’t want that but the scientist in her would find that interesting.

Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

81-Year-Old Survives 6 Days In California Snowbank By Eating Croissants And Candy

By Cheri Mossburg

An elderly man survived on croissants, candy and biscotti for nearly a week alone in his car, stuck in the snow on a desolate California road.

Jerry Jouret, 81, set out from his mountain house in Big Pine, California, on Feb. 24 to return to his family home in Gardnerville, Nevada — just over three hours away in good driving conditions.

According to his grandson Christian, Jouret thought he could beat the impending snow storm. He was wrong.

During the drive, Jouret accidentally veered onto a smaller road and his SUV became stuck near Gilbert Pass, he told CNN.

Temperatures in the area dropped from the mid 30s into the teens overnight.

The mathematician and former NASA employee was ill-prepared for the weather, wearing only a light windbreaker, his grandson said. “He’s a pretty small,” Christian added. “He doesn’t have a whole lot of meat on his bones.”

A light quilt and a hotel bath towel were the only things Jouret had to keep himself warm, he said.

Described by his grandson as “a very smart man,” Jouret stayed with his car and conserved his vehicle’s gas and battery, only turning the SUV on periodically to warm up.

A helicopter pilot spotted Jerry Jouret’s car during a search mission.(California Highway Patrol) Roughly 3 feet of snow fell during the series of storms that pummeled the state over the course of the week. Many areas in California saw significant amounts of snow — an unusual occurrence for a state that’s unaccustomed to harsh winters. The dayslong brutal conditions knocked out power to thousands of homes, buried roads in snow and left many stranded, like Jouret.

Jouret survived by eating the few snacks he had in his car. He rolled down his window occasionally to eat snow.

Midway through the third day, Jouret’s car battery died while he was rolling the electric window back up, his grandson said. It remained open a few inches for the duration of his unfortunate adventure.

On February 28, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received “a callout for a missing person,” the office said in a Facebook post.

Inyo County Search and Rescue teams planned search missions the next day, but were forced to delay due to safety concerns posed by the winter storm, according to a post from the sheriff’s office.

Then, on March 2, a cell phone ping identified by a California Highway Patrol team helped narrow the search area and once weather allowed, helicopter crews were deployed.

As one team headed to refuel the aircraft, the pilot spotted something he initially thought was a large rock. A closer look revealed a vehicle — and the pilot spotted an arm waving out of the small opening in the car window.

“Within a short period of time, they identified a vehicle partially buried in snow,” the sheriff’s office said. “The CHP crew loaded the person onboard and transported him directly to Bishop Airport for transport to medical care…The subject was discharged from the hospital later that evening.”

Jouret was only in the hospital for a few hours and showed no signs of hypothermia, his grandson said. “The nurses were in shock at how well his vitals were,” said the younger Jouret.

After leaving the hospital, Jouret was returned to his house in Big Pine. He then had to take a bus home to his wife Gardnerville as the couple’s SUV remains stuck in the snow.

Jouret told CNN he is recovering well, but says he remains traumatized by the ordeal.

Christian Jouret hopes his grandfather’s miraculous rescue serves as a warning to others about just how dangerous winter travel can be, especially when it’s not something you are used to.

Above all: “If someone gets trapped, don’t give up hope,” said Christian. “Some of us thought he was a goner. Never give up hoping. The human body is amazing for what it can endure.”

The Inyo County Search and Rescue reminded drivers to be prepared in winter weather conditions.

“If it is snowing, make sure you are prepared, don’t pass road closures and bring extra supplies with you. Or don’t travel at all and wait until roads and weather clear up,” the organization said in a Facebook post.

‘Pineapple Express’ Storm This Week To Bring Heavy Rain, Raise Flood Concerns Across California

California snow video: Balcony jumping, bridge shoveling, turkey spotting

The winter of 2023 isn’t finished yet. Not by a long shot.

An atmospheric river storm is likely to hit Northern California late Thursday into Friday, meteorologists and climate scientists said Monday, bringing high chances of heavy rain in the Bay Area, 1 to 3 feet of new snow at higher elevations in the Sierra, and an increased risk of flooding as the warm rain hits the state’s massive snowpack.

Details about the storm, a classic “pineapple express” event barreling in more than 2,000 miles from Hawaii, are still not certain.

But this past weekend, computer models began to show its likelihood increasing from about 10% to now about 70%, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty at this point regarding how intense it will be, how prolonged it will be, and the impacts it will likely have,” Swain said, “as well as whether it will be followed by additional warm storms or not. All of that is up in the air. However, confidence has grown that a warm rain event of some magnitude will occur later this week.”

This storm is most likely to be a 3 on a scale of 1 to 5, potentially a 4, said Marty Ralph, director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego and one of the nation’s leading experts on atmospheric rivers.

“It will be felt as far south as San Diego and up to the Russian River,” Ralph said.

Storm clouds make their way through the Bay Area as seen from Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, March 6, 2023. The Bay Area could have a potential atmospheric river this upcoming weekend. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) Ralph and Swain both said that the latest storm by itself won’t likely be enough to cause major melting of the immense Sierra snowpack — which on Monday was 192% of its historic average, the most snow in 30 years — because the deep snow can absorb a fair amount of rain.

But computer models are also showing that two or three more atmospheric river storms could be lining up over the next 10 days, Ralph said.

“It could be like January where we had back-to-back-to-back atmospheric rivers,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking out for. The chance for having another sequence of atmospheric river storms where this is the one to kick it off is where the greatest risk is.”

Many of the state’s largest reservoirs still have room to hold the incoming water. Their levels fell so low during three years of drought that the biggest ones still aren’t all the way full. On Monday, Shasta Lake near Redding, the largest reservoir in California, was 61% full. The second largest, Oroville, in Butte County, was 74% full.

That wasn’t the case in 2017 when Oroville got filled to the top and its spillway failed, forcing the evacuation of more than 180,000 nearby residents.

Hoping to reduce the chances of a similar event, dam operators in recent weeks have been increasing water releases from some reservoirs, such as Folsom, northeast of Sacramento, and Millerton, near Fresno, to create more space.

“We’ve got a lot of reservoirs in the state in a good position going into this storm,” Ralph said.

A visitor walks along a pathway under a cloudy sky at Marina Park on Monday, March 6, 2023, in San Leandro, Calif. Rain and cold temperatures are forecast across the Bay Area this week. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) How much rain is expected? Thursday night through Sunday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expecting 2 to 3 inches of rain in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, with 4 to 6 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Big Sur — enough to cause flooding on roads and some small streams.

There will be 1 to 3 inches in the Central Valley and 3 to 6 inches in the Sierra foothills, said Katrina Hand, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. The snow level will be 5,000 to 6,000 feet, she said.

California’s massive snowpack is a bounty that will melt and continue to fill the state’s biggest reservoirs through the spring. But flood experts also have been eyeing it nervously.

They worry that a series of warm tropical storms could melt it faster than normal, triggering the kind of catastrophic flooding that was seen in 1997.

That year, several warm “Pineapple Express” storms drenched the Sierra around New Year’s Day. Yosemite Valley experienced its worst floods in a century. Entire campgrounds washed away. Half of Yosemite Lodge was destroyed. Across the Central Valley, big reservoirs filled to the top and released water uncontrollably. Levees broke, causing major flooding in Marysville, Yuba City and other communities. When it was over, 48 of California’s 58 counties were declared disaster areas, and damage totaled $1.8 billion.

Friday’s storm won’t do that by itself, Hand said.

“We are not looking at a repeat of 1997,” she said. “This storm is not nearly as strong or as warm.”

California’s severe 3-year drought has been largely broken in many northern and coastal areas, after nine atmospheric river storms between Christmas and mid-January raised reservoir levels and caused serious flooding that killed at least 21 people, caused more than 750 landslides, wrecked roads and prompted a visit from President Biden to survey the damage.

A woman makes her way along a rocky jetty at Emeryville Marina Park as storm clouds are seen over the San Francisco skyline in this view from Emeryville, Calif., on Monday, March 6, 2023. An atmospheric river storm is likely to hit Northern California late Thursday into Friday, meteorologists said Monday. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) Much of February was dry. But over the past two weeks, several powerful new storms have dumped more rain on urban areas from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and smothered the Sierra Nevada in 16 feet of new snow, closing Yosemite National Park, Interstate 80, Highway 50 and even ski resorts for several days that couldn’t operate chairlifts during blizzard conditions.

Swain noted that Friday’s storm could cause “unusual problems” in some mountain communities, including the risk of roofs collapsing due to the weight of built-up snow, with rain making it heavier.

“It will most certainly cause some flooding, at least minor or moderate flooding,” in Sierra foothills communities and some urban areas, Swain said, adding “I think the Friday-Saturday event will produce less flooding than the events we saw in January.”

But he said he is watching next week’s forecasts very closely.

“A prolonged storm train and successive waves of warm rain on top of the huge snowpack, that would be a significant problem,” Swain said.

More rainy and snowy weather is expected over California in the next 10 days, according to an NOAA forecast March 6, 2023. (NOAA)