Powerful storm prompts weather alerts across Southern California
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. - A powerful storm system dumped rain on most of the Southland, prompting evacuation orders and flash flood warnings in recent burn areas, but the region should start to dry out Wednesday.
As nightfall set in Tuesday and a powerful band of rain moved across the area, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning that prompted alerts on cell phones across Los Angeles County. NWS officials quickly canceled that alert and issued an apology on social media, noting that the warning was only intended for the Fish Fire burn area near Duarte, where heavy rain prompted fears of "life-threatening" debris flows.
Duarte city officials had already imposed a mandatory evacuation order beginning late Monday night for 25 homes near the Fish Fire burn scar. It was unclear how many of those residents heeded the warning.
The Duarte Community Center, 1600 Huntington Drive, was opened at 11 p.m. Monday as an evacuation center. Valley View Elementary School, 237 Mel Canyon Road, was closed Tuesday, along with various streets near the burn area, including Brookridge Road and Opal Canyon Road, Opal Canyon Road and Mel Canyon Road, Mel Canyon Road at Deerlane Drive, and Mel Canyon Road at Fish Canyon Road.
A flood watch was expected to remain in place for all Los Angeles County burn scars through Tuesday evening.
In Orange County, a flash flood watch will be in effect through Wednesday morning for the Bond Fire burn area. A flood watch was also placed for coastal areas Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning.
A voluntary evacuation order took effect at 4 a.m. Tuesday for Silverado, Williams and Modjeska canyons in the Bond Fire burn area in Orange County due to the risk of flooding and debris flows from the storm. At 9 a.m. Tuesday, however, that order was updated to a mandatory evacuation, and the sheriff's department closed all roads leading into the affected canyons.
An evacuation center was established at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo.
The Library of the Canyons was closed Tuesday due to the order, including the vote center at the library. A full list of other available vote centers is available at ocvote.gov.
Much of Orange County was under a wind advisory Tuesday, with 20 to 30 mph winds, along with isolated gusts up to 45 mph.
The first wave of the storm doused the Southland Tuesday night, making for a wet morning drive in many areas. According to the NWS, some areas in the eastern San Gabriel mountains had already gotten nearly 5 inches of precipitation by mid-morning.
A second wave of rain moved into the area around 2 p.m., with forecasters saying it would "bring widespread moderate to heavy rain and mountain snow to the region through tonight."
Forecasters said coastal and valley areas were expected to get 1 to 3 inches of rain from the storm overall, with 2 to 5 inches possible in the mountains, with "locally higher amounts."
Record rain totals were recorded in parts of Los Angeles County on Tuesday.
At Sandberg, 3.62 inches of rain was reported, breaking the record for the day of 0.43 inches set in 2002.
At Los Angeles International Airport, 1.31 inches of rain was reported, breaking the record for the day of 1.3 inches set in 1998.
At Hollywood Burbank Airport, 0.98 inches of rain was reported, breaking the record for the day of 0.66 inches set in 1979.
In Lancaster, 0.51 inches of rain was reported, breaking the record for the day of 0.4 inches set in 2002.
At Palmdale Airport, 0.31 inches of rain was reported, breaking the record for the day of 0.22 inches set in 1979.
By mid-morning Tuesday, Caltrans officials said traffic was impacted by flooding on the Pasadena (110) Freeway at Via Marisol, with Caltrans workers on the scene to clear drains. Caltrans also reported that the right lanes of southbound Interstate 5 from Branford Street to Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Pacoima were closed due to flooding and drainage work.
More flooding was reported on freeways across the region as the evening commute began. The Angeles Crest (2) Highway between Vincent Gulch Road and San Gabriel Canyon Road closed late Tuesday afternoon due to rockslides.
Rain also had fire crews on alert. Los Angeles fire officials responded Tuesday morning to the Los Angeles River on a report of two vehicles being spotted in the rushing water. Rescue crews ultimately found no indication that any people were stuck in the river.
Los Angeles County mountains were under a winter storm warning through 10 a.m. Wednesday, although snow is expected to be restricted to higher elevations, with up to 20 inches possible in areas above 7,000 feet. Little to no accumulation is anticipated below 5,000 feet, forecasters said.
The storm brought plenty of snow to the mountains. Mammoth Mountain is under 60" of fresh snow, making it the snowiest November of the last 10 years at Mammoth.
Big Bear Mountain Resort reported getting 6-8 inches of snow overnight.
Mountaintop winds could reach up to 70 mph, according to the NWS.
The wet weather will be accompanied by chillier days and nights. Daytime temperatures are expected to drop into the low 60s in the valleys and the downtown Los Angeles area through Wednesday, with lows in the 50s Tuesday and the lower 40s Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Antelope Valley will see overnight temperatures below freezing level later this week, with lows of 33, 30 and 31 degrees expected Wednesday through Friday.
A drying and warming trend is expected by later in the week.