Wet weather forecast for Easter as late-season storm moves through LA area

Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

LOS ANGELES — After a late-season storm brought reports of flooding on Los Angeles freeways and a tornado warning in Santa Barbara County, a wet Easter Sunday is in the forecast for Southern California.

Up to 2 inches of rain is expected to hit Los Angeles County's foothills and mountains over the next 24 hours, with the storm lingering over the region into Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Low-lying areas could see a quarter inch of precipitation.

So far, the system has delivered as much as 2 inches of rain in the Southland's upper elevations, but there have been no reports of mudslides or major flooding, said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the weather service. The entirety of the storm, which has led to the cancellation or postponement of some Easter events, could deliver up to 3 inches of rain in Los Angeles.

"It is still raining pretty steadily over the eastern half of the county right now," Kittell said Saturday morning. "Once this band moves through it will rain more, but it will be very showery, with lots of breaks."

The California Highway Patrol said that there were reports of roadway flooding early Saturday morning on the westbound 210 Freeway at the Lake Avenue onramp, and on the southbound 110 Freeway's transition to the westbound 105 Freeway.

As of about 11 a.m., the flooding on the Lake Avenue onramp had stopped. It was the result of a construction project on the ramp — debris and trash were getting caught in K-rails and rolls of compressed hay installed by the contractor, said Marc Bischoff, a spokesperson for Caltrans.

Bischoff said the California Department of Transportation's maintenance crews are patrolling the region around the clock with portable pumps in tow to avoid the possibility of additional flooding. "Some areas of flooding are mitigated and reopened as they occur," he said.

During the storm, the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, a joint city and county agency, is offering additional motel vouchers to those experiencing homelessness. Shelter sites that were previously scheduled to close Sunday will remain open through Tuesday. Those in L.A. County needing a shelter should call 2-1-1 for help.


Among the Easter weekend events canceled ahead of the storm were outdoor gatherings planned in Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Pasadena and Arcadia, where an Easter egg hunt at Santa Anita Park is typically the largest in the San Gabriel Valley. The racing venue's festivities will now take place April 7.

Up at Mountain High Resort near Wrightwood in San Bernardino County, heavy snow fell Saturday morning — about 6 inches had fallen as of 6 a.m. — with as much as an additional foot expected through the end of the storm.

"It's been dumping the last few hours," Kittell said.

In Santa Barbara County, the system brought a tornado warning early Saturday morning. Dylan Flynn, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said the warning was issued for the southeastern portion of the county at 1:28 a.m. and was in effect for about 45 minutes. There were no reports of a tornado sighting or any damage.

Though rare, the tornado warning was the second in two months for Santa Barbara County. In late February, the National Weather Service said that a powerful storm off the Central Coast might generate small tornadoes in the western portion of the county.

The weekend storm has also brought heavier snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains. Most notably, over the last 24 hours, the summit at Mammoth Mountain had received 2 feet of snow, with an additional 4 to 6 inches in the forecast. The storm has "overperformed" in Mammoth, said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Johnston.

Some ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area have gotten as much as 14 inches of snow over the last day, among them Northstar California Resort in North Lake Tahoe, said Johnston, adding that the bulk of the storm had already passed through the area.

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