Storm headed to SoCal bringing rain and high surf

As the sun set over the beach at Ventura Harbor, waves crashing along the coast were about knee to waist high. But with a storm churning toward the Southland Coast Tuesday night, waves could reach shoulder height or higher by Wednesday.

The looming wind and rain led officials to urge residents to make preparations as mudslides, power outages, and evacuations - yet again - become a possibility.

"If it's a big rain, we're going to see another potential disaster here. So we've got to jump on it," said Roger Richman after loading up his pickup truck with sandbags.

His home in Calabasas was spared by the fire, but he's stepping up to help several of his friends in Malibu weren't as lucky.

"With all the vegetation gone, [they're] going to be subject to some severe flooding and washouts," Richman said. "So we're going to try to mitigate that."

Forecasters expect this rain to be widespread, with some spots getting doused even harder than the storm last Wednesday. It increases the potential for rock, mud, debris slides down burned slopes like those in Woolsey and Hill Fire burn areas.

On the beach, it's also prompting a high surf advisory.

"Even the most advanced surfers always have to be careful," noted Ally Barbaran and Rey Carungcong with the Shaka Surf Club. They, along with coworker Douglass Kavanaugh, teach children how to surf.

"Rip currents get really bad out here and you can get sucked out in two seconds," said Kavanaugh.

At the National Weather Service Officer in Oxnard, Eric Bolt coordinates weather warnings. He says the intensity of the rain -- not the rainfall total -- matters most.

"When you start to hear it on your roof, or your windshield wipers are going so fast that they can barely keep up with the rain, that's the intensity we're looking for to cause a debris flow," Boldt said.

"It doesn't matter how much rain we're predicting," he added. "It's all about how fast it comes down."

Boldt also noted Mother Nature's one-two punch combo of high storm surf and heavy rain could lead to flooding on roadways like PCH.