'Do not let your guard down': Relentless rain in Southern California causes more debris flows, evacuations

Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES — Rainfall from a relentless atmospheric river storm has already smashed records in Southern California, but the torrential weather has not let up, with even more mud and debris flows inundating roads and forcing evacuations.

On the fourth day of the punishing storm, Hacienda Heights and La Habra Heights in eastern Los Angeles County became the latest hilly communities to see devastating damage from the historic rainfall.

Firefighters on Tuesday morning evacuated three homes on Gotera Drive in Hacienda Heights after a debris flow damaged at least one house, Los Angeles County Fire spokesperson Fred Fielding said. Nearby, an almost three-mile stretch of Hacienda Road in La Habra Heights was closed after a major debris flow swallowed much of the street.

Capt. Greg Terril of the La Habra Heights Fire Department said crews were responding all morning to various mudslides and debris flows, mostly affecting roadways. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area through 12:30 p.m.

When asked how many slides had been reported, Terril said, “not one or two, more like 15-plus.” The extent of the damage has not been fully cataloged.

On Tuesday, officials also warned of a possible tornado in San Diego County and flash floods across the region. Officials had hoped the worst of the storm system had passed after a trail of destruction from high winds and heavy rains blazed across the state beginning Sunday, causing widespread flooding and mudslides Monday that ruined homes and forced evacuations in parts of Los Angeles County.


But threats remained imminent.

“Do not let your guard down,” Ariel Cohen, a weather service meteorologist in Oxnard, said Tuesday during a briefing in Los Angeles. “There could still be some very significant impacts still to go.”

It will take “very little additional rain” to cause increased flooding or mudslides and debris flows, he said, and there are waves of rain still expected through the afternoon.

The atmospheric river has also taken a deadly toll.


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