Southern California won't get much of a chance to dry out Monday as another storm system moves into the region on the heels of the weekend's record rainfall.
The third and most powerful in a series of storms pounded Southern California on Sunday, dropping nearly 4 inches of rain south of Los Angeles, flooding freeways and raising concerns about damaging mudslides. Commuters could expect a messy drive Monday in several areas, with rainfall expected to ease slightly but not taper off until Tuesday.
Late Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency across California in response to the severe winter storms that caused flooding, mudslides, erosion, debris flow and damage to roads and highways.
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Most of the region remains under a winter weather warning, and a thunderstorm roared through the Yorba Linda area early Monday. Hail and heavy showers were reported during the burst of severe weather.
"We've tracked a few thunderstorms already this morning," said NBC4 forecaster Crystal Egger. "Showers are pretty much widespread. We've had embedded thunderstorms that dumped some heavy rainfall.
"Sunshine returns tomorrow, and we're going to be dry through the end of the week."
Flash flood watches and warnings were in effect for swaths of greater Los Angeles and across Southern California, where multiple roads were closed Sunday or blocked by fallen trees. In Pasadena, a oak tree fell onto a car, and a woman inside escaped without suffering serious injuries.
Monday's rainfall won't include the hours of downpours that came with Sunday's storm. Evacuations were lifted late Monday morning for about 120 homes in the Santa Clarita area, but remained in effect for about 180 homes in the Duarte area.
The Duarte evacuation affected homes near the site of last June's 4,000- acre Fish Fire, and remained in effect, according to the city of Duarte. Evaucation notices were issued for both areas in advance of the weekend storms.
The snow level is expected to drop to around 4,000 feet, which may result in accumulating snow on The Grapevine, possibly resulting in a closure of the 5 Freeway near the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles.
California has been swamped during a wet winter that has brought plenty of rain and snow after years of drought. By early evening, the rainfall had set new records. Long Beach Airport received 3.87 inches of rain by 5 p.m., breaking the all-time daily record for rainfall. Los Angeles Airport got 2.78 inches of rain Sunday, another all-time daily record.
Downtown Los Angeles picked up 14 inches of rain since Oct. 1. The average for the entire wet season, Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, is 14.93 inches.
Firefighters in San Bernardino County staged a dramatic swift-water rescue of a couple whose pickup truck was trapped in surging water west of the Cajon Pass. Television footage showed rescue crews sending a raft, which was anchored to a fire truck, into rushing brown water so the trapped couple could climb aboard, one by one, from the car's passenger window.
Fast-moving floodwaters swept through California mountain communities and residents fled homes below hillsides scarred by wildfires. Forecasts said mountain locations could see up to 6 inches of rain. Rain fell at a rate of nearly three-quarters of an inch per hour.