Powerful storm hits California, prompting evacuations and road closures
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - A new storm moved into Southern California Saturday morning, bringing heavy rain and winds, shutting down roads and freeways, threatening mud and debris flows in recent burn areas and prompting a flash flood warning for part of Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Coastal and valley areas received up to 1 inch of rain per hour during peak rainfall, according to the National Weather Service.
In the recent Woolsey Fire burn area, officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for Seminole Springs Mobile Home Estates in Agoura Hills and Paseo Canyon Malibu West in Malibu.
UPDATE: Residents may return home but remain vigilant and cautious of running water and potential for further mud and debris flows. Red Cross shelters at Pepperdine & Santa Monica HS expect to close at 8PM. Flash Flood Watch remains through Sunday morning.
The Sheriff's Dept has lifted the mandatory evacuation order for the Paseo Cyn are in Malibu West - residents may return to their homes but should remain vigilant.
Earlier today officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for Seminole Springs Mobile Home Estates in Agoura Hills and Paseo Canyon Malibu West in Malibu.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department has issued mandatory evacuations for the Malibu West neighborhood. Leave immediately. The American Red Cross is setting up shelters at Pepperdine University and Santa Monica High School.
Paseo Canyon Malibu West in Malibu. L.A. County officials say an evacuation centers have been set up at:
Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road.
Santa Monica High School (South Gym), 601 Pico Blvd.
Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.
The centers are accepting small animals, but large animals are being accepted at Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave. in Woodland Hills, and at the Agoura Hills Animal Care Center at 29525 Agoura Road.
A mandatory evacuation order is in place for residents in the Trabuco Creek area of Orange County.
The order comes as a flash flood warning was issued across northern and western Orange County until 5:15 p.m., the National Weather Service said.
The 101 Freeway was shut down in both directions between Milpas Street in Santa Barbara and Route 150 in Carpinteria due to flooding, mud and debris flow.
At around 1:30 p.m., the following roads were closed in the Malibu area:
Kanan Road from Pacific Coast Highway to Triunfo Road; PCH from the Ventura County Line to Kanan Road; Malibu Canyon between Piuma Road and Malibu Crest; Lindero Canyon between Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Blackbird Road, Kanan Dume road between Cavalleri Road and the Ventura (101) Freeway, northbound Decker road, Rainsford Place, Cuthbert between Busch Drive and Harvester Road, Clover Heights at Harvester Road and Harvester Road between Clover Heights and Cuthbert Road and Philip Avenue
The 5 Freeway was closed in both directions at Sheldon Street in Sun Valley due to flooding.
The three right lanes on the northbound side of the 170 Freeway were closed for flooding at Sherman Way, and a section of Burbank Boulevard was closed for flooding at the 405 Freeway near Sepulveda Boulevard.
The NWS issued a flash flood watch for the Woolsey and Hill Fire burn areas effective until 1 p.m. Saturday.
A flash flood watch was issued for Los Angeles County through early Sunday morning.
The NWS also added a flash flood watch for Orange County that will be in effect until 4:30 p.m.
The City of Malibu warned that the following neighborhoods and streets are at high risk for potential mud and debris flow as they are adjacent to steep slopes or are located at the base of drainage areas:
Trancas / Malibu West
Malibu Park / Lower Zuma Creek
Ramirez Canyon / Paradise Cove
Latigo Canyon / Escondido Drive / Maguire Drive
Malibou Lake / Cornell Road
Old Agoura / Balkins Drive / Fairview Drive
Oak Forest Mobile Estates
Decker Canyon / Decker School Lane / Decker School Road
Encinal Canyon from Lechusa to PCH
Mulholland from Little Sycamore to PCH
The city of Burbank issued voluntary evacuation and road closure orders for residents of Country Club Drive above Via Montana, beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday and continuing through at least 4 p.m.
Walnut Avenue east of Sunset Canyon, and Harvard Road east of Bel Aire Drive, were closed to all
A section of Burbank Boulevard was closed for flooding at the 405 Freeway near Sepulveda Boulevard.
Los Angeles Fire Department officials reported the evacuation of two homes on Courtney Avenue in the Hollywood Hills due to mudflow, pending a new assessment by city inspectors. The homes previously were yellow tagged from a Jan. 17 mudslide.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power tweeted at 1:17 p.m. that crews were working on restoring power in many areas of the city, including Hollywood, mid-Wilshire, Brentwood, San Pedro, Toluca Lake, Reseda and Studio City.
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia announced on its web site that the park was closed Saturday due to inclement weather. Disneyland announced that its main park in Anaheim would close at 10 p.m. instead of midnight.
The system could bring 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain in some areas, 10-foot waves in the Pacific and several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges.
A wind gust in Santa Barbara County topped 80 mph (128 kph) as the storm moved south. Wind and flash flood warnings were issued for the southern part of the state after being lifted in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Multiple accidents were reported on slick highways, including a crash on Interstate 5 that killed a volunteer member of a sheriff's search and rescue team and injured several others.
The team from Ventura County was on its way to a training exercise when members stopped to help at the scene of a single-vehicle rollover crash.
The VCSO Fillmore SAR Team member Jeff Dye was helping people at a traffic collision when he was struck and killed by another vehicle. We mourn the loss of our family member today, Ventura County Sheriff Deptartment tweeted.
A minivan carrying a family was traveling too fast for the wet conditions, lost control and plowed into members of the team, Los Angeles County fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda said nine people were transported to hospitals, including a member of the rescue team who was in critical condition.
"This is a very unfortunate situation that could've been avoided," Imbrenda said, warning motorists to slow down in the rain.
Evacuations were ordered or recommended for many areas that were hit by wildfires in recent months. More than a half-inch (1.27 centimeters) of rain was recorded in five minutes in areas of Santa Barbara County where residents near the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fire scars were ordered to leave.
"This is a dangerous situation," the National Weather Service said, warning that high rates of rain could send debris, mud and boulders sluicing down denuded hillsides.
It has only been a little over a year since a downpour on the huge Thomas Fire burn scar unleashed a massive debris flow that destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes in the seaside community of Montecito. The disaster killed 21 people, and two others have never been found.
In Malibu, where the Woolsey fire last year destroyed many homes, residents barricaded their properties with sandbags.
In the Holy Jim fire area southeast of Los Angeles, where an August blaze scoured tens of thousands of acres in the Cleveland National Forest, volunteers using heavy equipment removed debris and deepened a creek bed to help prevent flooding.
"In the last two days we've been able to move 19 dump trucks worth of debris from the creek bed and reinforce some of the walls here," Keith Kothlow of Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization.
The National Park Service warned visitors to Yosemite of possible road closures and strongly advised drivers to bring tire chains in the event of snow or icy conditions.
Winter storm warnings were in place for the Sierra Nevada along with avalanche warnings on the Nevada side of the range. The Sierra is already loaded with snow from a series of storms in January. The weather service said areas could see accumulations of up to 10 feet (3 meters) over the next few days as a series of storms blew through.
Numerous areas of the state were under warnings for high winds.
The weather service lifted flash-flood watches for areas burned by the Mendocino Complex, Camp and Carr wildfires in Northern California.
Substantial rain was expected to continue Saturday afternoon, with lingering showers through Sunday morning before another bout of rain moves in Monday and Tuesday.
AP and CNS contributed to this report.