Today’s Headlines: A massive storm lashes Northern California

Hello, it’s Thursday, Jan. 5, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

A massive storm brings winds, power outages, evacuations

A powerful winter storm has unleashed heavy rain and strong winds across Northern California, triggering evacuations and power outages, and heightening fears of widespread flooding and debris flows.

Pounding rain and winds battered the Bay Area and surrounding regions Wednesday evening, prompting scattered evacuations along rivers where flooding was expected.

Wednesday’s storm is the third atmospheric river that’s hit California in the last two weeks. The successive storms have brought a deluge of water to the drought-stricken state, prompting Gov. Newsom to declare a state of emergency to “support response and recovery efforts.”

More on California’s storms

  • Officials throughout California are rushing to bring some of the tens of thousands of unhoused residents living on streets and along waterways into shelter.
  • The parade of severe storms slamming into Northern California could lead to one of the strongest seasons since the wild El Niño-fueled winter of 1997–98. And this isn’t even an El Niño year.
  • The atmospheric river storm presents a test for an experimental waste-capturing system that’s intended to keep plastic bottles, diapers and other trash from flowing into the Pacific.

Kevin McCarthy racks up three more defeats

The House adjourned without electing a speaker Wednesday evening after Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed in his fourth, fifth and sixth attempts to secure the post he has long desired.

McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who also fell short three times Tuesday, now has more time to negotiate a compromise that can win the support of some of the 20 hardline Republicans who have so far blocked him from the speakership.

Former President Trump’s series of social media posts Wednesday morning calling for members to back McCarthy had little effect on the day’s action, with McCarthy ultimately losing ground after a member who had previously supported him instead voted present.

More politics

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L.A. day laborers struggle to recover from COVID pandemic

Every day, low-wage workers show up at curbside hiring sites, seeking work on construction projects, roofing installations and landscaping jobs. They are often immigrant men living in the country without documentation, making them susceptible to wage thefts and other unfair labor practices.

The economic downturn caused by the pandemic two years ago hit day laborers especially hard. They were exposed to the deadly virus at high rates, unable to stay home or collect unemployment payments.

Until last year, most didn’t have access to health insurance. Now, high inflation and interest rates have made jobs more scarce, adding another layer of hardship, pushing many toward or into homelessness.

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Latino winemakers taste success and wrestle with identity

California is home to an estimated 45 Latino-owned wineries. They make up only a fraction of the state’s 4,500 producers, but their numbers are growing. Naturally, those winemakers hope to capture some of the expanding Latino market, as well as a bigger share of the general market.

But that hope requires them to make complicated decisions about how they market and brand their wine in an Anglo-dominated industry that’s long been associated with Eurocentric refinement.

These decisions take on a greater poignancy in a state where the industry thrives on fruit picked by Latino farmworkers, whose stories historically have been relegated to scraps of oral history.

Check out “The Times” podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re seeking a more balanced news diet, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Chris Rohloff of Venice walks along a jetty by the Ballona Creek to check the surf ahead of an incoming storm Wednesday.

(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

The college admissions scam mastermind was sentenced to prison. William “Rick” Singer, who bribed coaches and rigged exams for wealthy clients, must spend three years and six months in prison for his role in the scheme that rocked the country’s elite academic institutions.

Police arrest driver of Tesla that plunged off Northern California cliff. The successful rescue of a family after their vehicle plunged off a cliff known for deadly crashes was hailed as a miracle. Now authorities say the crash may have been intentional.

Who’s stealing the statues of Mexican heroes from an L.A. park? Columnist Gustavo Arellano writes that there used to be 33 figures, from former presidents to poets, at El Parque de Mexico in Lincoln Heights. Then they started disappearing.

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NATION-WORLD

Proud Boys go to trial on sedition charges as Jan. 6 prosecutions heat up. The trials of the neofascist group’s leaders come at a pivotal time in the Justice Department’s wide-ranging Jan. 6 investigation.

Cuban migrants flow to the Florida Keys, overwhelming officials. More than 500 Cuban immigrants have come ashore in the Florida Keys since the weekend, the latest in a large and increasing number.

A gun in a raw chicken and cattle prods in a guitar case. 2022 was a year of odd finds and catches at airport security points, where agents of the Transportation Security Administration screen hundreds of thousands of passengers daily. The agency recently released its list of top 10 catches.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

TikTok’s addictive anti-aesthetic has already conquered culture. The alarm over security hasn’t put a damper on the app. And whatever its fate, columnist Carolina Miranda writes, it has already transformed culture: reshaping language, turning dance moves into social currency and making video into something we watch vertically rather than horizontally.

Stars of the 1968 film “Romeo & Juliet” sue studio for child sexual abuse. The Los Angeles County suit accuses Paramount Pictures of filming their nude bodies without their knowledge when they were children.

Not ready to leave Italy after “The White Lotus”? Netflix has the show for you. “The Lying Life of Adults,” the latest novel by the famously pseudonymous Italian writer Elena Ferrante, has been adapted for the screen as a six-part series.

BUSINESS

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is on a property buying spree. Stan Kroenke’s latest purchase is a $325-million outdoor shopping center in Woodland Hills, further signaling his intention to build a second sports-centric development like SoFi Stadium.

Roku TVs are coming to market. Will they help the San Jose streamer rebound? Over the past year, some investors have grown wary of Roku’s direction, as the company weathers a weaker advertising market and delves into non-TV-related products.

OPINION

L.A. should stop requiring developers to waste space on parking. Too many new buildings have too many parking places, by law. The city should reduce the amount of land devoted to cars, so more housing can be built.

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SPORTS

What caused Damar Hamlin’s heart to stop? The 24-year-old safety with the Buffalo Bills is not your usual victim of heart failure, leading to speculation about what might have caused him to collapse on the field. He remains in critical condition, but family said he was heading in a “positive direction.”

Gio Reyna’s parents reported Gregg Berhalter’s domestic dispute to U.S. Soccer. A personal feud between the families threatens both men’s careers and has thrown U.S. Soccer into turmoil just as the program enters a new World Cup cycle that will end with the tournament being played in the United States for just the second time.

The Angels announce Wayne Randazzo as their new play-by-play announcer. Randazzo, whose hometown is Chicago, has close to 20 years of broadcasting experience at the local and national level.

ONLY IN L.A.

Deon Williams Jr. and Torin Thiomas, musician and artist, left, and Marlana "Marley" Tucker, model, mom and entrepreneur.

Deon Williams Jr. and Torin Thiomas, musician and artist, left, and Marlana “Marley” Tucker, model, mom and entrepreneur.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

A Black L.A. portrait series returns this year. Here’s how to be part of it. In 2022, The Times launched the photo portrait project Behold with the goal to give Black L.A. the Juneteenth commemoration it deserved. We photographed nearly 100 Black Angelenos, young and old, to capture the full breadth of the community. And we dived deep into the lives of activists and entrepreneurs.

This year, we want to make it even bigger.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Cher and Sonny Bono are shown in front of a poster of the documentary-movie Wattstax

Cher, wearing chamois leather, and Sonny Bono, wearing checks and plaids, are shown in front of a poster of the documentary-movie “Wattstax” in 1973.

(Associated Press)

Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident 24 years ago. Bono, 62, veered off a wide-open, well-groomed intermediate run at Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe to navigate through a narrow grove and smashed face-first into a lodgepole pine, authorities said.

A Republican congressman from Palm Springs since 1994, his death came two years after he collided with another skier at Snow Summit in the San Bernardino Mountains, suffering a gash to the chin that required 11 stitches. News of his death triggered an outpouring of accolades and remembrances from the two worlds he frequented with equal ease — entertainment and politics.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected]

Eleanore Beatty

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