Southern California

Flooding, Mudslides and Power Outages as Fierce Storm Pounds Southern California

Rain was falling at a rate of up to 2.74 inches per hour during the storm

Southern Californians awoke to flash floods, mudslides, power outages and traffic chaos Friday as a powerful storm slammed the region.

Avalanches of mud and debris blocked part of Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County, flooding the 170 freeway in Hollywood strong winds caused power outages around Santa Barbara and other parts of the coast, and forecasters predicted the winds would continue to gain speed.

The storm hit Camarillo Springs possibly the hardest, with mud pounding into homes and forcing firefighters to go from house-to-house to ensure people were safe. A massive clean-up operation was underway by morning.

The National Weather Service extended flash flood warnings for the Colby, Williams, Madison and Tecolote burn areas in LA County to 10:15 a.m.

The brunt of the weather system known as the "Pineapple Express" previously hit the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, flooding freeways, toppling trees and forcing thousands to stay away from work and school. The storm was also blamed for two deaths in Oregon and thousands of power outages in Washington.

[LA GALLERY] December Storm Photos

small tornado touched down in South Los Angeles Friday morning, ripping parts of rooftops and downing trees, the NWS confirmed.

A flash flood warning was put in place for Los Angeles County and Ventura County, with burn areas in particular danger due to the potential of mudflows. PCH was closed between Las Posas Road and Yerba Buena Road in Ventura County due to a mudslide, with up to 18 inches of mud on roadway according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officials issued temporary mandatory evacuation orders for burn areas in Camarillo Springs and for the east side of Ridgeview Drive In Azusa until about 2:15 p.m., when they were downgraded to voluntary.
Orange County emergency officials lifted mandatory evacuation orders for Silverado Canyon about 1:45 p.m. Friday. A Red Cross evacuation center opened at El Modena High School in Silverado Springs.
Glendora city officials issued a red alert Thursday night, mandating evacuations for residents of the Colby Fire burn area. The area seemed to have held-up well against the onslaught, though it was feared a third inch of rain due to hit the area could prove to be a tipping point.
The city of Glendora lifted all evacuations orders by Friday about 6 p.m., but officials told residents to remove cars and trash cans from the street and follow rain-related parking restrictions.
Overnight, trace amounts of rain fell in downtown L.A, near LAX, Hawthorne and Long Beach, as well as .19 of an inch in Newhall, according to the NWS. In Moorpark 8 inches of water soaked the road, while Newbury Park also had curb-to-curb water. In areas with heaviest rainfall, 2.74 inches of rain fell per hour.
Traffic delays also plagued the roads. A Sig Alert, which lasted two hours, was issued for the 101 Freeway after a big rig jackknifed at Parkway Calabasas around 10:30 p.m. Another Sig Alert was issued after a truck crashed on the southbound 14 freeway just north of Newhall Avenue just after 2:30 a.m., with only one lane open at 3:09 a.m.

On Friday from 12 until 4 a.m. there were a total of 46 accidents compared to a total of 8 accidents on the same day last week, the CHP said.

Ventura Road from Wagon Wheel Road south to Stone Creek Drive in Oxnard reopened Friday afternoon after the flooding forced closures through the morning. Heavy rains also caused the shutdown of Sepulveda Basin due to flooding. Burbank closed from 405 Freeway to Balboa.


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In Long Beach, a building facade collapsed at a building that houses a home and a liquor store, a city spokesman said. Residents were being escorted out of the home and no injuries were reported.

Power outages hit thousands of customers in LA County, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Carson.

Some 11,000 DWP customers were affected, while almost 30,000 customers lost power at some point in the rest of the county, SoCal Edison said.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department bolstered its staffing levels in advance of the rain, with an urban search-and-rescue team on standby, along with swift-water rescue teams and canine search teams.

A rainstorm made landfall in SoCal and set up morning commuters for a tough drive on soaked streets. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.

Winds up to to 70 miles per hour are possible in the mountains and flash flooding may occur near burn areas, according to the NWS. Flash flood watches were issued in Orange County's mountains and foothills, especially the Silverado Canyon.

Less than a week after taking a pounding in the first heavy rains of the year, Southern Californians are expecting for what looks to be a far more intense pummeling of wind, rain and snow.

A homeless man in Oregon died after a tree was blown over in Oregon, while a similarly huge gust blew down an 80-foot fir at a Santa Cruz elementary school. The tree pinned a 6th grader by his arm for 15 minutes until the boy was cut free.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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