Another storm takes aim at Southland, with heaviest rain Wednesday night

Another round of rainfall was expected to move into the region Wednesday afternoon and continue through Thursday, forecasters said.

Rainfall will increase by midday Wednesday and become heavier in the evening and overnight periods, according to the National Weather Service.

Moderate to heavy rain was expected to taper off by Thursday afternoon.

NWS officials said a flash flood watch will be in effect for "first-year burn areas" and the following

conditions were expected through Thursday:

-- high surf and significant coastal flooding;

-- rain totals of 1-3 inches along the coasts and valleys, with 2-4 inches in the foothills and mountains;

-- snow accumulations at the highest resort levels above 8,000 feet; and

-- shallow mud and debris flows with some damage possible.

The peak rainfall period in Los Angeles County is expected to be from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Santa Monica tide predictions of "near seven feet" are expected on Friday and Saturday mornings, forecasters said.

Between 1.5 to 2 inches of rain was forecast for the Malibu area, enough to cause mud or debris flows, Hoxsie said. The rain, however, is expected to fall over a longer period of time Wednesday, slightly reducing the chances of mud or debris flows, she said.

Several parts of Malibu impacted by November's Woolsey Fire, which stripped many hillsides bare, are already under mandatory evacuation orders.

The orders were issued for specific properties adjacent to steep slopes or at the base of drainages in the following Woolsey Fire burn areas:

-- Corral Canyon/El Nido;

-- Escondido/Old Chimney;

-- Escondido Drive/Latigo Canyon;

-- Malibu West/Trancas Canyon;

-- Malibu Lake;

-- all of Ramirez Canyon Road and adjacent streets; and the

-- Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park and Restaurant.

County officials said 225 homes were affected by the orders, but other residents should prepare supplies and be ready to evacuate when ordered.

"Authorities warn that all residents who live in or near the Woolsey Fire burn area should remain aware of their surroundings and weather conditions during these storms. Even small amounts of rainfall rates may result in significant mud and debris flow, so we strongly encourage residents who live in or near Woolsey Fire burn areas to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris said in a statement.

An estimated 500 homes in the Creek Fire burn area -- including Kagel, Little Tujunga and Lopez canyons -- were warned to be prepared to evacuate.

Officials said some homeowners whose properties are in particular peril have been alerted and should not wait until a mandatory evacuation order is issued to leave the area. As of 3 a.m. today, no mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Creek Fire burn area, according to the sheriff's department.

Evacuations remained in effect for some areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties affected by last year's Woolsey Fire. The blaze that broke out in November destroyed more than 1,500 homes and other buildings from Ventura County to Malibu and killed four people.

Evacuation centers were open to serve residents from the Woolsey Fire area at Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Agoura; and Santa Monica High School-South Gym, 601 Pico Blvd.

For more information, contact the American Red Cross at (800) RED CROSS. Anyone who feels unsafe should call 911.

All Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District schools in Malibu will be closed today. The schools are Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, Point Dume Marine Science School, Webster Elementary School and Malibu Middle/High School. The district's preschool in Malibu and the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu also will be closed, the district says.

If a mandatory evacuation order is issued for Kagel, Little Tujunga and Lopez canyons, an evacuation center will be opened in Sylmar.

Updated information is available at www.lacounty.gov/larain.

Evacuation centers for large animals were opened at Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave., in Woodland Hills; and the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, 11127 Orcas Ave., in Lakeview Terrace.

Small animals, including those with special medical needs, are being accepted at every county-operated animal shelter, as well as the animal safe trailer at 27040 Malibu Hills Road in Agoura.

Several thousand people heeded a mandatory evacuation order in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast, where last year a sudden debris flow swept through Montecito, killing 23 people and destroying 100 homes.

Meanwhile, a blizzard warning for much of the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe was set to go into effect Wednesday night, with meteorologists predicting as much of 5 feet of snow in upper elevations.

Dangerous and potentially life-threatening blizzard conditions were expected at elevations above 7,000 feet, with high avalanche danger throughout the region.

The first in the series of storms dumped an inch of rain in Los Angeles and snow in the mountains Monday. Rain closed the Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement parks.

A mudslide closed a 4.4-mile section of Pacific Coast Highway just north of Malibu on Monday for several hours.

In Encino, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, a 250-foot-long debris flow from a hillside pushed a guest house off its foundation. No one was hurt.

Ice and blowing snow also shut down a major route connecting Los Angeles with San Francisco. Dozens of cars and trucks were stranded for hours before the Grapevine, a high pass on Interstate 5, reopened after nightfall.

The Associated Press and CNS contributed to this report.