Weather Updates: Storm Damage, Outages, Rescues

Timeline and by-neighborhood information on SoCal storms and evacuations.

Weather update timeline. Check back regularly for the latest on storm information and evacuations. Also, see these additional resources:

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Saturday, 1/23

"Black ice" snarled traffic today on state Route  74 at Palm Canyon Drive.  Some drivers who tried to traverse the slippery stuff spun out, though no collisions or injuries were reported, said the California Highway Patrol officials.  Other drivers got out of their vehicles and started clearing the ice with shovels, adding to the danger, according to the CHP. 

The National Weather Service says the storm is over for Western Riverside County.  They are in for warmer weather and clear skies, but the storm that just passed produced more than half the rainfall the region usually gets all year. NWS reports between 5.5 and 6.5 inches of rain fell in western Riverside County, and the average annual rainfall is 10.22 inches.

The California Highway Patrol has closed the Soledad Canyon Road offramp of the southbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Acton for an indefinite period due to flooding, says CHP Officer Patrick Kimball.

Witnesses have reported three separate crashes occuring on the southbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway south of Newhall Avenue in Santa Clarita as a result of black ice on the roadway from our recent storms, said California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Kimball.

Although most evacuations were lifted Friday, some residents in the Paradise Valley area in La Canada Flintridge and Acton on Heffner Road remained subject to mandatory evacuation orders, according to Los Angeles County Emergency Management spokesman Ken Kondo.

Friday, 1/22

On Thursday, a dog was rescued from the LA River in Vernon (Full Story/Video).  The dog has no tags and his owners have two weeks to claim him, or he will be put up for adoption. 

The mountain resorts have 4 to 5 feet of fresh, new snow. If you plan to hit the resorts, however, make sure you bring your tire chains.

Chains are required for vehicles traveling in the Idyllwild area on state Route 74 between Hemet and Pinyon Drive; state Route 243 from state Route 74 to Interstate 10; and state Route 371 from Anza to state Route 74, according to the California Highway Patrol. Requirement One (R1) restrictions are in place, meaning that vehicles -- except four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles -- must use chains or snow tires.

Some roads in the Big Bear area were closed because of white-out conditions. Full Story

Even cities in the upper and lower deserts, like Phelan and Yucaipa, got sizeable dustings of snow today.  The kids loved it.  It was quite a sight to see, as the snow covered the arms of the joshua trees.

The wait is over for some evacuees as residents in La Canada-Flintridge can return home. Check the county's website for addresses and evacuation updates. Some evacuation orders remained in effect as the National Weather Service warned of scattered showers and thunderstorms through the evening that could drop up to an inch of rain an hour at times. Officials said the risk of mudslides can last up to 72 hours after the rains have stopped.

The southbound lanes of Beverly Glen at Valley Vista in Sherman Oaks were cleared. The road was closed after a tree fell, taking power lines with it to the ground. The southbound lanes of Sepulveda Boulevard at Valley Vista also reopened after tree was cleared.

A tree fell on the Ranch House, which houses offices, labs, and a library at the Getty Villa. It was not open to the public and there were no injuries reported.  No artwork was affected.

About 8,100 customers in the city of Los Angeles started the day without power, said  Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Maychelle Yee. The hardest-hit areas included South Los Angeles with 3,000 outages, Sawtelle with 1,900, Watts with  900 and Hyde Park with 700, she said. At the same time, 9,582 Southern California Edison customers were  reported without electricity, said Edison spokeswoman Lauren Bartlett. Outages in Edison areas of Los Angeles County included 425 in Rancho  Palos Verdes, 253 in Bell Gardens, 187 in West Hollywood and 132 in Long Beach.

A tree fell on the overhead lines that power the MTA Gold Line, closing the line, according to a Metro spokesman. The tree blocked the tracks in both directions at Arroyo Verde Road and a "bus bridge" was set up to ferry riders around the area.

Thursday, 1/21

Acting Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Thursday in five counties, including LA, Riverside and Orange. Fov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday in a Washington D.C. press conference that he will declare a state of emergency.

In the race against nature, you could say the people and their machines are winning for now. They were hauling away truckloads of runoff from flood-prone areas like La Canada Flintridge. The runoff is unrelenting, but the hillsides continue to hold. According to LA County, approximately 2,000 households have been evacuated.      

A debris catch basin overflowed Thursday afternoon and the water was caught in a runoff channel. But some mud and water did pour into several driveways.  So far, the mud has not entered any homes (Full Story).

Bizarre weather damage Thursday in Ventura was confirmed as the result of a tornado. Trees were uprooted, yards torn up, cars lifted off the ground. (Watch Video)

In West L.A., a water-logged tree fell on a car just as the car was driving by on Gateway Boulevard south of Pico. Nobody was seriously hurt.

Snow Summit reported 3 feet of new, fresh snow. We do have a weather related freak accident to report.

The Grapevine reopened late Thursday, but only with CHP escorts. And the CHP warns that it's hit or miss.

In Fontana, flood waters are close to a foot deep. Street flooding has also been a problem in San Bernardino and Riverside.
Flash flood warnings remain in effect through late evening for most areas of the Inland Empire.

A swift-water rescue crew plucked two people from the rising Santa Ana River.

Hundreds of people were still waiting to see whether their homes in Tujunga would remain safe from mudslides. (Full Story).

Cars were damaged by fallen trees in Santa Barbara. "(My) window was open. And all of a sudden, I felt the air being sucked out of the room. And I looked out my window ... it's like something you would watch on Discovery Channel, like the Tornado Hunters," said one witness. (Watch Video)

The National Weather Service issued a high-surf advisory through Sunday morning at Orange County beaches. (Full Story).

Southwest Airlines canceled all flights out of Bob Hope Airport in Burbank until 6 p.m. Earlier Thursday, the airline canceled flights into and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport because of high winds. Southwest operations also were affected at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and Ontario Airport.

Wednesday, 1/21

On Wednesday, 2 to 3 inches of rain fell in many areas. There was no slide activity in the burn zone in La Canada Flintridge Wednesday night. Even with all the rain, what mudflows have occurred there have been relatively minor. 

At about 3 p.m., evacuation orders were issued for 23 more homes in La Canada Flintridge. The homes are on Ridge Cliff Lane, De Valle Road and Haskell  Street, according to the county. Click here for exact addresses. Fire officials placed 39 homes in the city of Acton under a mandatory evacuation order. More info.

"I will not put the lives of the men and women of the lapd and fire department in peril," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "I do not want the men and women of the LAPD overextended to have to go to door to door asking people to get out."

Water is crossing the causeway to Riverwood Ranch in the Tujunga area. LAPD officers are warning residents: Get out now, or you will be trapped.

"There's a segment of this community, I must say, that is resistant and  they are not adhering to the orders," said Los Angeles city Fire Chief Millage Peaks. "And I can't insist enough  that they get out and obey the orders that the Los Angeles Police Department  has issued.''

Authorities said residential areas in Sierra Madre are at serious risk of mudslides. The upper and lower canyon areas are under evacuation orders. Heavy thunderstorm activity was reported in the Pasadena area.

It is not illegal under California law to ignore a so-called mandatory  home evacuation order. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said that the names and addresses of residents  who refuse to leave will be taken down so authorities can account for them.

At a mid-day news conference, city, police and fire officials said residents in evacuation zones who remain in their homes are putting their lives -- and the lives of rescuers -- at risk.

"There is nothing that is holding that back," said Assistant Fire Chief Craig Fry. "The ground has absorbed as much water as it will."
Fry noted that the threat isn't over once the rain stops. He said the ground will remain unstable well into the weekend.

The addresses of homes to be evacuated outside the city of Los Angeles  were posted on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works'  website. An evacuation center for Southern Tujunga residents will open at 8 a.m.  at Sunland Recreation Center, 8651 Foothill Blvd.

The Grapevine opened again but traffic in that area moved very slowly. 

As an extra safety precaution, Metrolink trains are running at slower speeds, causing some minor schedule delays. Passengers on Riverside Line trains should expect 10-15 minute delays, according to Metrolink.

Two cars were trapped in three feet of water on Vineland at western end of Burbank Airport before the railroad tracks.  The fire department has taped off street.  Officials said this is third time today they have had to rescue stranded cars. Tujunga Avenue was a river -- solid water until San Fernando Road.

Earlier Wednesday, lightning struck two Southwest jetliners Wednesday as they were on approach to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. Both planes landed safely and there was only one minor injury, authorities said. More info.

To minimize flood dangers in Orange County as the storms persist, the Army Corps of Engineers is now releasing a million gallons of water per minute from Prado Dam.

The city of Fullerton is providing sand and sandbags at three locations: Fire Station 1 - 312 E. Commonwealth Ave. (east of Lemon Street); Fire Station 5, 2555 Yorba Linda Blvd. (just east of State College Boulevard); Fullerton Maintenance Services Department, 1580 W. Commonwealth Ave. (sand will be on the lot at the southwest corner of Basque and Commonwealth, across from the Maintenance Services’ employee parking lot.)

At Unisource in Buena Park, heavy rains accumulated on the roof and punched open a 20-by-30 foot hole. That sent employees scrambling for safety but nobody was hurt.

Tuesday, 1/19

Tuesday brought a little of everything and a lot of rain. At least one tornado and several water spouts were reported as a powerful storm blew through the Southland Tuesday causing evacuations and power outages.

In Costa Mesa, a tornado briefly touched down near Whittier Avenue and 17th Street between 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. It lasted about 30 seconds, witnesses said. The twister tore off a part of the roofing of the Ocean View Industrial Park.

With nearly a week of rain forecast, the potential for slides was far from over. The heaviest downpours are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, with still more rain is possible through the end of the week.

The August-September Station Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles County history, has left about a third of the Angeles National Forest nearly bare and prone to mud and debris flows. Protecting a roughly 20-mile string of neighborhoods bordering the burn area is a network of 28 catch basins.

Heavy downpours, thunderstorms, flash floods, monstrous winds, coastal flooding, hail, and blizzard conditions in mountain areas are possible Wednesday. Heavy rainfall is expected to hit Santa Barbara County beginning around 11 a.m., then spread to Los Angeles County starting around 3 p.m., lasting until around 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

During that time, hourly rainfall rates of between three-quarters of an inch and an inch are expected, increasing to 1.5 inches in areas hit by thunderstorms and over south-facing slopes, which includes the sites of the Station and Morris fires.

"Rainfall at these rates could cause significant flash flooding, with life-threatening mud and debris flows in and below the recent burn areas, especially since the grounds are saturated," according to an NWS advisory.
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