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California rainstorm moves south, forcing flood advisories, after setting records in the north

Hayley Smith, Luke Money, Anita Chabria and Susanne Rust, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The powerful storm that walloped Northern California over the weekend moved into Southern California on Monday, carrying with it the potential for localized flooding, strong winds and debris flows across the region.

A morning flood advisory was issued for southern and eastern San Luis Obispo County, where forecasters said rain could come pouring down at rates of up to 0.75 of an inch per hour.

Over the last 24 hours, some areas of the county — including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Rocky Butte — have recorded more than 5 inches of precipitation.

In Ventura County, officials warned that expected strong rains into the early afternoon could flood roadways and trigger debris flows in recent burn areas.

Downed power lines temporarily forced the California Highway Patrol to reroute traffic on Interstate 5 near Bakersfield shortly before 11 a.m. The thoroughfare fully reopened about half an hour later.

The storm also created some concern in Santa Barbara County, where a flash flood warning was issued near the burn scar of the Alisal fire. That expired shortly before 11:30 a.m.

 

The atmospheric river event will probably peak in Los Angeles around midday Monday and could dump up to an inch and a half of rain on downtown L.A. The Santa Lucia mountains in San Luis Obispo County could see as much as 5 inches, and roadway flooding and debris flows in recent burn areas are possible.

The system is “unusual for this time of year in terms of its strength,” said David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “It’s a very, very powerful storm.”

The first major storm of the season has already shattered records.

Downtown Sacramento had an all-time-record 24-hour rainfall total of 5.44 inches, surpassing a mark set in 1880, officials announced early Monday. Rainfall totals that extreme would likely qualify as a “200-year storm,” which has about a 0.5% chance of happening in a given year, officials said.

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