More Storms to Come After First Rounds Bring Flash Flood Warning to LA County

Residents in wildfire burn areas were preparing for mudslides due to a week of steady rain

More storms were on the way for Wednesday after a series of super soakers brought flooding and downed trees to Los Angeles County Tuesday. 

Heavy rainfall and at least one thunderstorm hit Tuesday, part of the second of four storms anticipated this week that prompted a flash flood warning at midday for parts of Los Angeles County. The warning was issued for burn areas in east central Los Angeles County, where steady rain was expected to saturate hillsides and potentially lead to mudslides.

"So far things seem to be holding relatively well," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a  morning news conference, during which he announced that the city's Emergency  Operations Center had been activated.

Camarillo Springs saw no mudslides due to a $2-million reinforced wall built to catch rocks and debris.

Garcetti also said city operations are so far continuing as normal, and trash  collection will continue as normal. City officials have said previously that they might consider suspending trash pickups to prevent cans and debris from  being washed into storm drains during rainstorms.

"We'll let people know and keep people abreast," Garcetti said.

At least three trees were downed from the rain,  according to the mayor, and more are likely to come down as the precipitation continues. Flooding has been reported in the Sepulveda Basin, resulting in street  closures in the area -- although Garcetti noted that the basin is designed to collect rain runoff.

A man in a Mini Cooper became stuck in Lake Balboa as a flooded street swallowed up part of his car, forcing him to climb onto the roof. By 5 p.m., it appeared that the rain had subsided. 

Several recreation areas were closed in the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The Rowher Flats and Drinkwater Off Highway Vehicle areas were closed, along with the South  Fork, Big Rock, Gould Mesa and Coldbrook campgrounds, and the Bridge to Nowhere Trail.

The storms were set to continue pounding the Southland, with a chance of more lightning Wednesday. The heaviest rains Wednesday were expected during the morning and early afternoon.

The potential for mud and debris flows was a concern for fire-stripped areas.

A "yellow" alert was in effect Tuesday morning for residents near the Colby Fire burn area above Glendora, where a fire on Jan. 15, 2014 scorched 1,992 acres. The alert directs residents to remove vehicles, trash bins and other obstructions from streets -- both to ensure access for emergency  vehicles and to prevent the items from being damaged or washed away in a mudslide.

As of Tuesday morning, no evacuation orders had been issued for the area bordering the Colby Fire site -- which includes all properties north of Sierra Madre between the western city boundaries of Azusa/Glendora to the eastern  boundary of properties on the west side of the Little Dalton Wash.

Glendora city officials reminded residents not to cross flowing water or mud, and protect themselves from debris flows on their property by going to the highest point in the house or the middle of a single-story residence.

Muddy water was spotted cascading down at least one Glendora street near the Colby Fire burn area.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles County, two mountain roads were closed due to anticipated hazardous driving conditions.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works said Lake Hughes Road closed between Warm Springs and Newvale Drive beginning at 4 a.m. Glendora Ridge Road was closed between Glendora Mountain and Mount Baldy roads beginning at 6 a.m. The roads were to reopen "once conditions permit," the county said.

Off the coast, hazardous conditions for mariners were expected much of the week, with forecasters warning of the possibility of thunderstorms over coastal waters Wednesday.

Any thunderstorm that forms would produce gale-force winds and "rough seas, dangerous cloud-to-water lightning, heavy rainfall with reduced visibility, small hail and isolated waterspouts," said an NWS statement.


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Large long-period swells were expected to appear off the coast for the week. A much larger swell  lasting from Wednesday through Friday was expected, it said. The larger swell will generate  "hazardous breaking waves" at west-facing harbors in San Luis Obispo and  Ventura counties.

The first of this week's storms, which forecasters attribute to the El Nino effect, was Monday and proved to be weak. More storm activity is expected through the end of the week.

City News Service and Crystal Egger contributed to this report.

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