Death toll in southern California mountains rises after major snow as communities dig out
The death toll in California has risen following once-in-a-generation weather that left mountain community residents stranded amid major snowpack.
As of Thursday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said it had responded to 13 death investigations, with only one directly related to the extreme weather.
That individual died during a traffic crash, according to Fox 11, with four others in hospice or at the hospital.
“The preliminary information we have at this time, is the circumstances observed at the scenes did not present as weather related. Many of the deceased had significant medical histories or chronic conditions. Seven of these decedents were transported to the Coroner’s Division for additional investigation,” the department told the outlet.
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Residents of the state are still recovering days after a series of storms dumped the snow, making roads impossible and collapsing roofs. Many of the main roads remain closed, although the county reports 95% of county-maintained roads have been cleared.
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The county is also offering reimbursements to residents and businesses of up to $500 to help cover what was spent on professional snow removal.
California was hit by the first in a new series of atmospheric rivers on Thursday, with forecasters warning that widespread heavy rain would raise the threat of flooding.
Fox 11 said residents and workers in the San Bernardino area were worried about snow creating more weight on roofs.
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Elevations below 4,000 feet will see melting and runoff amid the Pineapple Express storm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.