Voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders were in effect in portions of Los Angeles County Wednesday amid concerns about mud slides and torrents of debris down fire-scarred slopes as a result of the strongest storm to strike the Southern California this season.
The storm -- something of a meteorological double-whammy: a strong Eastern Pacific weather system greatly bloated by an "athmospheric river" consisting of a subtropical plume of moisture -- produced showers in Los Angeles County beginning Tuesday afternoon but won't generate heavy rain in the county until later Wednesday.
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The event is likely to produce 1 to 3 inches of rain in L.A. County Coastal and valley areas and between 2 and 5 inches in the mountains. Ventura and Santa Barbara counties are still expected to receive 2 to 5 inches of rain in coastal and valley areas and between 5 and 10 inches across the foothills and coastal slopes.
A flash flood watch will be in effect from tonight through late Thursday night not only in burn areas of Los Angeles County but also in urban areas. It will be in effect in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains; the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys; Los Angeles, including the coast, metropolitan Los Angeles, downtown, and the Hollywood Hills; and both coastal and inland Orange County.
The Santa Clarita flash flood watch will be in effect Wednesday at 1 1p.m. until Friday at 5 a.m. The specific concern is in the Sand Fire burn area, sheriff's officials said.
The rain likely will stop late Thursday or early Friday.
Rainfall rates up to six-tenths of an inch per hour are possible late Wednesday, possibly increasing to three-quarters of an inch per hour or higher at times Thursday.
Duarte city officials said the city would adopt a "yellow alert" status at noon Wednesday in areas below the 2016 Fish Fire burn area. The alert calls for residents to move vehicles, trash bins and other large items out of streets to keep them clear for emergency crews and prevent items from being washed away.
The city also plans to close Mel Canyon Road to through-traffic below the burn area beginning at 6 p.m. The street will remain closed to at least 7 a.m. Friday. Valley View Elementary School, which is on Mel Canyon, will remain open, but students must be dropped off and picked up on Deerlane Drive.
Duarte officials will distribute filled sandbags to residents at the corner of Brookridge Road and Opal Canyon Wednesday. Empty bags and sand will also be available at Los Angeles County fire station at 1105 Highland Ave.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department advised people who reside in the areas affected by the La Tuna Canyon, Creek and Skirball fires to prepare for evacuations and street closures. On Wednesday, rain prompted the closure of La Tuna Canyon Road from the 9100 block to the Foothill (210) Freeway. No through traffic will be permitted, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Evacuations were anticipated to begin at 6 p.m. in the following areas:
- Voluntary evacuations were issued for the 9000 block of La Tuna Canyon Road to Sunland Boulevard; from Day Street (north border) to Plainview Avenue (east border) to Sherman Grove Avenue (west border).
- Due to an updated forecast, evacuation orders that had been scheduled to take effect at 6 p.m. in the Kagel Canyon, Lopez Canyon and Little Tujunga Canyon areas have been canceled, according to the county.
- Corona officials have just issued a mandatory evacuation order for areas impacted by the recent Canyon Fire. The order will take effect at 6 p.m. The Red Cross is expected to establish an evacuation center in the area. Information is available at (951) 817-5800. Pet boarding is being offered at the Corona Animal Shelter, 1330 Magnolia Ave. A list of homes affected by the order is available here.
The city of Burbank, meanwhile, issued a voluntary evacuation order that will take effect at 8 p.m. and continue through at least 6 p.m. Thursday for the following streets in danger of flooding and mud flows due to the recent La Tuna Fire.