Flash flood of mud and debris rushes through Cherry Valley

A storm out of the Gulf of Alaska drenched the Southland today, leading to a tripling of accidents on area freeways, flooding on a key roadway in Ladera Heights, mudslides in Duarte and a river rescue near El Monte.

The bulk of the storm had moved out of the area by about midday, although National Weather Service forecasters warned that some mountain areas could still have showers through Saturday morning, while the entire area will
be dealing with chilly temperatures through the weekend.

Rain fell steadily across much of the Southland overnight, leaving roads dampened and motorists dealing with sometimes-treacherous slippery conditions.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the number of accidents reported on Southland freeways between 5 and 10 a.m. was nearly double the amount from the same time frame last week. In a five-hour period beginning at 7p.m. Thursday, there were 165 accidents on Los Angeles freeways, up from 54 during the same period a week earlier.

Flooding was also an issue in several areas -- most notably in the Ladera Heights area, where La Cienega Boulevard was closed in both directions in the early morning hours south of Slauson Avenue and north of Centinela Avenue. La Cienega is a critical route for many people traveling to Los Angeles
International Airport.

In Duarte, the rain prompted a mudslide that inundated some streets below the site of Fish wildfire in June. Melcanyon Road was swamped with mud between roughly Brookridge and Fish Canyon roads, blocking access to and from about two dozen homes.

Valley View Elementary School, 237 Melcanyon Road, was closed for the day.

There were no reports of any severe damage to homes, thanks in part to K-rails that had been installed in the area following the wildfire.

According to the NWS, coastal and valley areas received between three- quarters of an inch to 2 inches of rain during the storm, with 1 to 4 inches
falling in the mountains.

With the rain largely out of the area by midday, flash flood watches that had been in place in areas such as the Santa Monica Mountains and Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys were allowed to expire, along with those in
the San Gabriel Mountains and San Gabriel Valley.

In Glendora, a "yellow" alert that had been in place for residents near recent burn areas was lowered to "green."

The rain began falling Thursday morning across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, then spread to Ventura and Los Angeles counties in the afternoon and intensified as the day wore on. The bulk of the precipitation materialized overnight.

But while the rain was largely gone, the cold weather remained.

"Behind the front, cold air and northerly winds will bring mountain snow and gusty winds to the area," according to the NWS. "Some showers may linger in the mountains through Saturday morning. Temperatures will be well
below normal through the weekend.

"It will remain dry with seasonable temperatures next week."

A winter weather advisory will be in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday in the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range, with the snow level expected to drop to about 5,000 feet Friday afternoon, then to between 2,500 and 3,000 feet Friday night. Mountain temperatures were expected in the teens and 20's.

"This -- in combination with strong winds, icy roadways and dangerous wind chill readings -- will bring the potential for treacherous driving conditions through Saturday morning across the north-facing slopes of
the local mountains, including Interstate 5 near The Grapevine," according to the NWS.

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were reported in the Los Angeles County mountains Friday morning, and windy conditions were expected to continue into the weekend -- along with chilly temperatures.

"The big deal for the weekend will be the overnight low temps each night as the clear skies and dry air will allow good cooling in an already cold air mass," according to the NWS. "There will be hard freezes across the
interior and (minimum) temps at or near freezing for most of the valleys."