Californians finally see sun after series of El Nino storms

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California El Nino Storms
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Californians finally see sun after series of El Nino storms
Snow caps the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Los Angeles, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, after the latest in this weekâs series of El Nino-fueled storms pushed through the region. The National Weather Service said Mount Wilson, topped with broadcast antennas serving the metropolitan area, received 8 inches of snow between Sunday afternoon and Thursday morning. Other points in the mountain range received up to 28 inches of snow. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

In a photo provided by Mike Eliason, Bo Sailor of Goleta, Caif. watches as high surf crashes into the wall and spills onto Channel Drive in Montecito, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. The ocean-water-quality advisory issued Thursday came as the latest storms moved east after pummeling the region with heavy rainfall. Bacteria levels can increase significantly during and after rainstorms as contaminants in the runoff enter the ocean via storm drains, creeks and rivers. (Mike Eliason via AP)

High surf batters the break wall at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Calif., Thursday morning, Jan. 7, 2016, as another powerful El Nino-driven storm lashed coastal areas of California on Thursday. The storm created waves that forecasters said could reach 16 feet while sending scattered thundershowers across inland areas. (Chuck Bennett/Daily Breeze via AP)

A Coast Guard ship navigates through a rough ocean off the coast of Encinitas, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. El Nino storms are producing heavy rain, large waves, and extensive damage. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
SANTA PAULA, CA - JANUARY 07: A rainbow fills the sky above the Thomas Aquinas College in the Topatopa Mountains near Santa Paula Thursday afternoon January 07, 2016 as the latest El Nino storm moves through Southern California with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The sun rises behind Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in this view Sausalito, Calif., after a couple days of storms. The last in a powerful string of El Nino-driven storms lashed coastal areas of California on Thursday. It came a day after the week's strongest storm drenched the state and much of the Southwest, stopping cable cars in San Francisco, flooding roadways and stranding motorists across Los Angeles, and dumping heavy snow in northern Arizona. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Pasadena Fire Department, public information officer Lisa Derderian, talks to a neighbor affected from the collapse of his neighbor's property retaining wall, after heavy mud and debris flow broke through a retaining wall in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Mud and debris flows down hillsides burned in a recent brush fire after heavy rain from the first in a series of El Nino storms passed over the area above Solimar Beach in Ventura, Calif., Wednesday Jan. 6, 2015.(AP Photo/Joel Angel Juárez)
A pedestrian walks in the rain at Alamo Square Park in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. The latest El Nino storm hit at the height of the San Francisco commute, causing car crashes, toppling trees and flooding streets and streams around most of the region. The California Highway Patrol estimated there were nearly two dozen weather-related crashes on Wednesday during the morning drive. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Water covers a closed Las Posas Road near Camarillo, Calif., after heavy rain from the first in a series of El Nino storms passed over the area on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Joel Angel Juárez)
A surfer rides a wave, churned by a winter storm, breaking underneath the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in San Francisco Bay. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific promise to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increase fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A mud flow skirts a house protected with sandbags in Monrovia, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. A wildfire two years ago stripped away vegetation and loosened soil. The current El Nino system, a natural warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that interacts with the atmosphere and changes weather worldwide, has tied a system in 1997-1998 as the strongest on record. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
SOLVANG, CA - DECEMBER 25: A full moon sets over a dry Santa Ynez River on December 25, 2016, in Solvang, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers and Mediterranean climate, the coastal regions of Santa Barbara have become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA - JANUARY 07: Bitelio Ramirez, 52, looks out over tons of trash and debris has piled up near the mouth of the Los Angeles River after two days of heavy rain fell in Southern California from El Nino generated storms. Two cranes were being used to lift out somewhere around 300 tons of trash, according to a worker on the scene. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
People stand near a sink hold caused from recent storms in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
SANTA PAULA, CA - JANUARY 07: A rainbow fills the sky in the Topatopa Mountains near Santa Paula Thursday afternoon January 07, 2016 as the latest El Nino storm moves through Southern California with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A restaurant entrance is mirrored by flood waters after heavy rains in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A City of San Diego crew member cleans up debris in a road after heavy storms and flooding in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
warning light stands submerged on the Camino de la Reina which is flooded by the San Diego River after heavy rains in San Diego, California on January 7, 2016. The first major El Nino storm of the season battered southern California this week, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region and causing flooding and mudslides in some areas. Several El Nino storms are expected to hit California in the coming weeks, but experts warn that the rainfall will not be enough to help the region recover from a historic drought. AFP PHOTO/ BILL WECHTER / AFP / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - JANUARY 06: Homes at Mondo's Beach between the Solimar and Faria Beach communities west of Ventura have their sea walls tested Wednesday morning, January 06, 2016, as the third storm this season's El Nino moves in with more rain and heavy surf. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Two men watch as the sun sets over San Francisco from Yerba Buena Island, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Lorisa Nelson, left, and Alana Matarazzo shield themselves from the rain Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Authorities investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in the westbound lane of Foothill 210 Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Authorities investigate a multi-vehicle crash involving a semi-truck in the westbound lane of Foothill 210 Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A man walks a dog under rain clouds atop Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A man stands near crashing waves on the Pacifica Pier in Pacifica, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The statue of the Lone Sailor, near the Golden Gate Bridge, stands in front of a passing rain storm Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Rain drops bead on a car window below the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
People make their way across a wet street near Union Square Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in San Francisco. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A residence garage is sandbagged in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Concrete barriers are set to protect homes from flash flooding in Glendora, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Persistent wet conditions could put some Los Angeles County communities at risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows, especially in wildfire burn areas. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
A pickup truck makes is way down a flooded road along the Pacific Coat Highway in Malibu, Calif. after a heavy rain on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Californians were warned against abandoning conservation efforts Tuesday as several weeks of storms spawned by El Nino began hitting the West Coast. Heavy rain and snow are welcome after four years of drought in California, despite their potential for causing flash floods and mudslides. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
A group of people walk in the rain along the waterfront Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sausalito, Calif. Californians were warned against abandoning conservation efforts Tuesday as several weeks of storms spawned by El Nino began hitting the West Coast. Heavy rain and snow are welcome after four years of drought in California, despite their potential for causing flash floods and mudslides. But even a very wet winter won't be enough to replenish water supplies depleted by four years of drought. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Mike Thawley fills a sandbag Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in San Anselmo, Calif. Californians were warned against abandoning conservation efforts Tuesday as several weeks of storms spawned by El Nino began hitting the West Coast. Heavy rain and snow are welcome after four years of drought in California, despite their potential for causing flash floods and mudslides. But even a very wet winter won't be enough to replenish water supplies depleted by four years of drought. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Richard Polich crosses a street in the rain on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in San Francisco. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Women stand in the rain while visiting the Yee Tock Chee waterfront park on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sausalito, Calif. Californians were warned against abandoning conservation efforts Tuesday as several weeks of storms spawned by El Nino began hitting the West Coast. Heavy rain and snow are welcome after four years of drought in California, despite their potential for causing flash floods and mudslides. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Rainwater spills over a clogged storm drain Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016, in San Leandro, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Vehicles slow on Interstate 80 during a winter rain storm Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016, in San Leandro, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Plastic covers the roof of a home to shield it from rain during a winter storm Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016, in San Leandro, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Chris Lene sweeps water out of one of the businesses in the building he owns that was flooded by rain water, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific promise to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increase fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Chris Lene sweeps water out of one of the businesses in the building he owns that was flooded by rain water, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific promise to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increase fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A car navigates through a flood water as it turns into a parking lot Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific promise to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increase fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A man rides his bike past a flooded roadway Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Mill Valley, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Traffic maneuvers around a flooded roadway from high tides and rain Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Mill Valley, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Traffic crosses the Golden Gate Bridge in the rain Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in this view from Sausalito, Calif. El Nino storms lined up in the Pacific, promising to drench parts of the West for more than two weeks and increasing fears of mudslides and flash floods in regions stripped bare by wildfires. Stronger systems are predicted starting Tuesday following light rain a day earlier. At least two more storms are expected to follow on Wednesday and Thursday, possibly bringing as much as 3 inches of rain. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
LONG BEACH, CA. -- TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2015 -- A front end loader and dump truck work to move beach sand to protect vulnerable areas from flooding in rainy weather during the first big storm in what is predicted to be a strong El Nino event in Southern California January 5, 2016. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Most of California saw sunny skies again Thursday after days of powerful El Nino-driven storms drenched the region, stopping cable cars in San Francisco, stranding motorists and dumping heavy snow in northern Arizona.

Earlier in the day, the last major storm expected this week lashed coastal areas of California, stirring waves as high as 16 feet and flooding some low-lying streets, before turning east toward Nevada and Arizona.

SEE EARLIER: LA tries to cope with rain in a place where rain is rare

The sun eventually came out in parts of Los Angeles but rain lingered in spots around the state including San Diego County, where 45-year-old Eddie Vera marveled at the monster surf that crashed against the closed Ocean Beach Pier.

"This city in general is not ready for this type of rain," he said, as gawkers took selfies using the giant waves as a backdrop.

Vera, a maintenance supervisor, had spent time filling sandbags for use at apartment buildings where drainage systems flooded during the storms that began Sunday and answered the question: When will it rain?

For months, Californians watched El Nino — a natural warming in the Pacific Ocean that interacts with the atmosphere — grow stronger and waited for the skies to open up and take the edge off four years of drought.

Officials said the week's wet weather would provide some relief but much more would be needed to end the drought. They warned residents against abandoning their conservation efforts and reverting to wasteful water-use habits.

The storms stalled traffic, closed schools and toppled trees, including a 19th century pepper tree outside historic Mission Santa Barbara. Many residents of foothill areas where wildfires had destroyed vegetation and created the danger of mudslides voluntarily evacuated until the rain had passed.

California and other areas were expected to begin drying out Friday before another round of light rain moved in over the weekend. More El Nino storms have been forecast over the coming months.

The strongest storm of the week struck Wednesday, dumping up to 5 inches of rain along the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Eureka. Angeles National Forest in Southern California saw 3.5 inches.

Higher elevations received heavy snowfall. A foot of snow fell Wednesday at resorts in San Bernardino County and around Lake Tahoe.

Michelle Mead, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said two to three feet of snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevada from Monday night to Wednesday night — a major boost to the snowpack that supplies a large amount of water when it melts in spring.

To the south, Flagstaff, Arizona, had 19 inches of snow on the ground and the Arizona desert saw its fourth straight day of rain.

See the snowy effects of El Nino in Arizona:

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Arizona El Nino effects
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Californians finally see sun after series of El Nino storms
A pedestrian crosses in front of the Monte Vista Hotel in historic downtown Flagstaff, Ariz., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Josh Biggs)
Flagstaff resident Anthony Martinez pushes a motorist out of the snow in Flagstaff, Ariz., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Josh Biggs)
Hail piles up at a home for sale in a neighborhood near Glendale Road and Seventh Street in Phoenix as an El Niño-powered storm swept through Arizona. The worst in a series of El Nino storms that hit Arizona this week is over after dumping more than 2 feet of snow in northern Arizona cities and drenching the desert terrain with rain. (AP Photo/Courtney Bonnell)
Flagstaff resident Ruth Tilman sweeps off her car after a storm in Flagstaff, Ariz. on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Josh Biggs)
A pedestrian makes their way through historic downtown Flagstaff, Ariz., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Josh Biggs)
Jennifer Corrigan shovels snow in her driveway in Flagstaff, Ariz., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. El Nino-fueled storms also brought heavy snow to northern Arizona. (AP Photo/Josh Biggs)
Zach Bednar hits a ramp while snowboarding in his hometown of Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
Isaac Reed, left, and Laura Reed, both of Phoenix, put the finishing touches on a snowman during a visit to Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
Snow blankets the city of Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
Hail piles up at a home for sale in a neighborhood near Glendale Road and Seventh Street in Phoenix as an El Nino-powered storm swept through Arizona. The worst in a series of El Nino storms that hit Arizona this week is over after dumping more than 2 feet of snow in northern Arizona cities and drenching the desert terrain with rain. (AP Photo/Courtney Bonnell)
Elliott Siner, of Phoenix, takes a break from sledding in Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
Bicycles are covered in snow on the Northern Arizona University campus in Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. A series of El Nino-related storms dumped heavy snow on the region. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)
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In Ventura, California, Marlyss Auster took a break Thursday from her job as director of the city tourism bureau and joined dozens of residents snapping photos of huge waves pounding the city pier, which was damaged last month by other high surf.

"The pier was holding strong," she said. "The swells were huge. Everybody was just really in awe watching them."

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