Rainfall triggers mudslides, roadway flooding in LA County

Moderate to heavy rain fell on the Southland early Thursday, triggering rock and mud slides in the Santa Monica Mountains and causing numerous instances of minor roadway flooding in several areas of Los Angeles County, the National Weather Service reported.

An urban and small stream advisory issued by the NWS remained in effect until after 4 a.m.

At 2:10 a.m., "Doppler radar and spotter reports continued to indicate moderate to locally heavy rain occurring across portions of Los Angeles County,'' according to an NWS statement. ``A few of the heavier bands affected the Santa Monica Mountains, where some rocks and boulders fell across Kanan Road near the tunnel as well as Topanga Canyon.''

A mudslide trapped several vehicles and forced the closure of a section of Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Topanga near Malibu, the California Highway Patrol reported. The mudslide was reported around 1:45 a.m. and affected Topanga Canyon Boulevard between Pacific Coast Highway and Grand View Drive. About four to five vehicles were stuck in mud and drivers had to be rescued but no one was injured, according to reports from the scene.

Mud covered the roadway and SigAlert was issued for a Topanga Canyon Boulevard closure expected to last through the morning.

In La Crescenta, a spotter reported heavy rain overnight, with almost an inch of rain in just over a half hour, the NWS statement said.

"There have been plenty of minor flooding reports on freeways and low- lying roadways across a wide portion of L.A. County early this morning. The heaviest rain was occurring across the eastern half of the county, with a few heavy showers still moving across the western San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles,'' it said, adding that showers would taper off this morning.

The flood advisory applied to Burbank, Beverly Hills, Acton, Encino, Inglewood, Manhattan Beach, Agoura Hills, Venice, Rancho Palos Verdes, Hollywood, Van Nuys, Glendora, Alhambra, West Covina, Mount Wilson, Culver City, Torrance, Universal City and Whittier, the NWS reported.

"Turn around. Don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles,'' warned the statement.

In the mountains, snow levels fell to between 4500 and 5000 feet. Light snow accumulations are also possible in the mountains Friday into Saturday morning, creating hazardous driving conditions, according to an NWS statement.

The NWS forecast mostly cloudy skies in L.A. County today and highs of 46 degrees on Mount Wilson; 56 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 60 in Avalon and Saugus; 62 in Burbank and at LAX; 63 in Long Beach and Pasadena; and 64 in Downtown L.A. and Woodland Hills. Friday's highs will be about the same but amid rain resulting from what's expected to be the strongest of the storms that have hit the Southland this week. As of this morning, an extended forecast projects no rain until Wednesday.

Partly cloudy skies were forecast in Orange County amid temperatures virtually as low in inland Orange County as along the coast, which is unusual. The NWS forecast highs of 59 in San Clemente; 62 in Newport Beach and Mission Viejo; 63 in Laguna Beach; 64 in Yorba Linda and Irvine; and 65 in Fullerton and Anaheim. About the same temperatures will prevail Friday amid showers.

Looking at the near future, the NWS said this morning that periods of light to moderate rain are expected through early Saturday "as a series of storms move through the area.'' Dry but cool conditions are expected Saturday through Monday.

After that, "a potentially powerful and significant storm will be possible Tuesday into Wednesday, when moderate to heavy rain may occur along with higher snow levels.''