A powerful atmospheric river has arrived Sunday, bringing very heavy rain and potentially life-threatening flash flooding as well as mountain snow to much of the Southland through Tuesday, promptingin eight counties in the state, including Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The National Weather Service says rain will continue through Tuesday with a high threat of excessive rainfall and flooding. As of 11 a.m. PT, the NWS said the heaviest rain had shifted to Los Angeles County and will last longest over the region as the system arrives. High rainfall totals are anticipated, including 4″-8″ for LA County, 8″-14″ for the mountains and foothills, with a 20-percent chance of thunderstorms. But widespread flooding will be the biggest threat.
“Angelenos, my pledge to you is to keep you informed and to make sure the city is operating in an all-hands-on-deck manner to keep Angelenos safe. Storms can change quickly, but let me be clear: this storm is a serious weather event. This has the potential to be a historic storm, severe winds, thunderstorms, and even brief tornadoes,” said Mayor Karen Bass during an afternoon news briefing.
According to the NWS, the strongest rain and wind will arrive by afternoon and into the evening through Monday morning. Forecasters say the coastal side of the mountains will also be affected. Heavy rain will linger, which is why the NWS has asked the public to work remotely, if possible, Monday.
Flood Watch remains in effect
A flood watch remains in effect for all areas. According to forecasters, flooding is possible along freeways, as well as in neighborhoods, impacting even parked cars due to the sheer amount of anticipated rain. Commuters are urged to avoid freeways Monday morning.
Strong, damaging winds are likely, prompting the NWS to issue a rare, winter storm warning for Ventura County and northward, as well as for the mountains of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, Running Springs, and Wrightwood. The winter storm warning means excessive rainfall could produce flash flooding.
Los Angeles County is not under the storm warning, but is under a gale warning, which means sustained surface winds, or frequent gusts, in the range of 34 knots (39 mph) to 47 knots (54 mph), is either predicted or occurring. Winds will be lighter Monday and into Tuesday. Stronger winds could return by Wednesday.
The storm also impacted power in twelve counties across the state, resulting in 217,445 residents being impacted, as of 5 p.m. ET. The impacted counties include Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Santa Barbara, Napa, Solano, and San Luis Obispo.
Evacuation orders and warnings issued
Evacuation warnings and orders have been issued for five counties, including for Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Monterey.
Los Angeles County Evacuation Orders/Warnings
In Los Angeles County, an(roughly within the area bounded by Horse Haven to the north, Martindale to the east, Primrose to the south and Ledge to the west) due to the high risk of debris flow.
An evacuation center for those with household pets has opened at Sunland Senior Citizen Center, located at 8640 Fenwick Street Sunland, 91040, as well as at the Lake View Terrace Recreation Center, located at 11075 Foothill Boulevard, Lake View Terrace, 91342).
Large animals can be evacuated to Hansen Dam Horse Park, located at 11127 Orcas Avenue, in Lake View Terrace, and the LA Equestrian Center, located at 480 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 91506.
Elsewhere, in Malibu, an evacuation order has been issued due to possible mud and debris flows in the area along Santa Maria Road, north of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The evacuation order includes the areas along Soledad Canyon Road east of the Agua Dulce Canyon Road.
Evacuation orders have also been issued for the areas around the Owen Fire, including the areas of the Topanga Zone 4 including Santa Maria Roadfrom Topanga Canyon). These orders will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday. An evacuation warning has also been issued for areas of unincorporated LA County near the Agua Fire, Bobcat Fire (north end), Lake Fire and Owen Fire burn scars areas through 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The City of Duarte has also used an Evacuation Warning for an area in the Fish Fire burn scar through 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
Ventura County Evacuation Orders/Warnings
Parts of Ventura County were already underbecause of the storm, including for unincorporated Ojai, which includes residents living near Matilija Canyon, North Fork, Camino Cielo until Sunday at 5 p.m.
Evacuation warnings have been issued for the community of Foster Park/Camp Chaffee, Creek Road/Old Creek Road and 2 homes on Grada Avenue and 2 homes on Trueno Avenue.
“We’ve already seen the storm hit us last week and soil is already saturated. Flash floods as a result can occur without warning,” said Sgt. Cyrus Zadeh of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. “Please stay alert not only to the road conditions, but we’re asking people to be alert to our evacuation warnings, evacuation orders, and advisories.”
An evacuation center has been established at Ventura College Gymnasium, located at 4667 Telegraph Rd, Ventura, CA 93003.
Santa Barbara County Evacuation Orders
Evacuation orders were in place for the following areas in Santa Barbara County, including properties along waterways associated with the Thomas, Cave and Alisal burn areas, as well as properties in the vicinity of Sycamore Creek, from Stanwood Drive down to parts of Ninos Drive in the city of Santa Barbara, and all state campgrounds including Gaviota, Refugio, El Capitan and Carpinteria.
Monterey County Evacuation Orders
Evacuation orders were issued for low-lying areas of the Carmel River, including areas of the Carmel River near Camp Steffani, Lower Robles Del Rio, Paso Hondo, Garzes, lower Shulte Road in Monterey County.
Santa Clara County Evacuation Orders
Mandatory evacuation have been ordered by the city of San Jose for areas on and near banks of Coyote, Los Gatos, Penitencia and Ross Creeks and the Guadalupe River.
Snow levels to fall
In addition, snow levels were still fairly low but are expected to increase to 6500-7500 ft. By Monday, the NWS says that snow levels will drop to 5000-6000 ft, and will fall further to 4000-5000 ft on Tuesday.
Officials with the LAUSD have indicated that schools will remain open Monday. However, Vinedale Span School will be moved to Glenwood Elementary School Monday. Elsewhere, in Santa Barbara, schools will be closed on Feb. 5th.