As rain pelts soggy Southern California, residents are urged to stay vigilant for mudslides

Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES — A slow-moving winter storm that pelted Los Angeles with steady rain Monday was expected to subside briefly Tuesday before roaring back at nightfall with heavy downpours, strong winds and the possibility of thunder and lightning.

Authorities, fearing the effect of additional rain on hillsides and creek beds already saturated by a massive storm earlier this month, issued flash flood warnings for a swath of L.A. from Malibu to Griffith Park as well as portions of the San Fernando Valley.

Residents were encouraged to remain in their homes and stay vigilant for signs of mudslides.

There were scattered reports of mudslides throughout the day, including on Pacific Coast Highway near Santa Monica; the U.S. 101 near La Conchita in Ventura County; and north of Malibu, where large boulders were said to block lanes at the intersection of Malibu Canyon and Piuma roads north of Malibu.

An evacuation warning was issued due to possible mud and debris flows along Santa Maria Road north of Topanga Canyon Boulevard through 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Damage in the city of L.A. as of Monday afternoon appeared mostly limited to a handful of downed trees and flooded freeway ramps.


In the Sepulveda Basin, Burbank Boulevard between Balboa Street and the 405 Freeway and Woodley Avenue from Victory to Burbank boulevards were closed because of flooding, according to the L.A. City Emergency Management Department.

In Santa Barbara, where some places in the Santa Ynez mountains recorded nearly 10 inches of rain by noon, flooding on the tarmac forced the closure of the airport, and a woman's body was found near a swollen creek.

It was unclear whether the death in a downtown Santa Barbara section of Mission Creek was related to the storm. Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale said in a statement that the body was "entangled in the trees off the bank of the creek." Detectives have not identified the woman but do not believe that she was a victim of foul play, according to the statement.

The storm, which began Sunday, is forecast to bring 2 to 5 inches of rain to L.A. before moving out of the area Wednesday. Richard Thompson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said the "second impulse" or phase of the weather system will began rolling in from the ocean late Thursday and bring more intense and unpredictable conditions.


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