A Pacific storm brought much-needed rain and snow to California on Wednesday at the tail-end of a largely dry winter, but it also unleashed a mudslide in a fire-scarred canyon in Orange County.
Mud coursed down Orange County’s rustic Silverado Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, filling the yards of homes and trapping some cars in hubcap-deep muck. No injuries were reported, but with more rain expected the Orange County Sheriff’s Department ordered Silverado and two other canyons evacuated.
Thursday rains could cause minor flooding in southern Los Angeles County,
with some minor mud and debris flows possible across the southern portion of the Bobcat and Ranch2 burn areas in the Angeles National Forest. A flash flood watch was in effect through Thursday evening for the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills and Orange County inland areas.
Showers continued overnight on Thursday, and scattered showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms were in the forecast for Thursday and Thursday night. On Friday, SoCal can expect partly cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of showers and winds around 15 mph in the afternoon.
Winter storm warnings were in effect through Thursday night for most of Southern California, where Caltrans urged drivers to check for chain controls. Conditions included showers, downpours, thunderstorms, hail and low-elevation snow. Periods of moderate to heavy snow and gusty winds were expected, and additional snow accumulations from 4 to 8 inches were forecast for elevations above 4,000 feet, down to a dusting for elevations around 2,500 feet.
Up to an inch of snow accumulations are also possible for the foothills of the Antelope and Cuyama Valleys and the Carrizo hills.
For a time, the California Highway Patrol had to escort 5 Freeway traffic over Tejon Pass in the mountains north of Los Angeles. To the east, heavy snow was reported on the 15 Freeway in the high desert, Caltrans said.
In the Eastern Sierra, the Mammoth Mountain ski resort reported 13 inches to 15 inches of new snow, with more expected.
The Sierra snowpack is an important part of California‘s water supply, but at the start of March its water content was about half the average normally recorded on April 1, when it is typically at its most robust.
On Wednesday, the storm system dropped nearly three-quarters of inch of rain in Culver City and more than a half-inch in downtown Los Angeles, Hawthorne and Los Angeles International Airport, according to the NWS. Most valley areas received between a third- and half-inch of rain overnight, while snow fell in some mountain areas, including 5 inches on Mount Wilson.