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Home / evacuations

Evacuations ordered in LA, Orange counties due to storm

A significant storm system rumbled over Southern California Tuesday, soaking much of the region overnight and prompting evacuation orders in Los Angeles and Orange counties due to the threat of even heavier downpours that could prompt flooding and debris flows.

National Weather Service forecasters noted that the first wave of the storm dumped large amounts of rain in southern and eastern Los Angeles County, with some areas in the eastern San Gabriel mountains already nearing 5 inches of precipitation, “with still a very heavy band coming later today.”

A second wave of rain was expected to move over Ventura County by about noon, and push into Los Angeles County sometime after 2 p.m. The storm will “bring widespread moderate to heavy rain and mountain snow to the region through tonight.”

A flash flood watch was issued for all recent burn areas. Forecasters said coastal and valley areas can expect 1 to 3 inches of rain, with 2 to 5 inches possible in the mountains, with “locally higher amounts.”

A flood watch will be in effect from through Tuesday evening in the Los Angeles County mountains, Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and San Gabriel Valley, with forecasters warning of flash flooding, debris flows and rockslides in recent burn scars.

In Orange County, a flash flood watch will be in effect through Wednesday morning for the Bond Fire burn area. A flood watch will also be in place for coastal areas Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning.

A voluntary evacuation order took effect at 4 a.m. Tuesday for Silverado, Williams and Modjeska canyons in the Bond Fire burn area in Orange County due to the risk of flooding and debris flows from the storm. At 9 a.m., however, that order was updated to a mandatory evacuation, and the sheriff’s department closed all roads leading into the affected canyons.

An evacuation center was established at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo.

The Library of the Canyons was closed Tuesday due to the order, including the vote center at the library. A full list of other available vote centers is available at www.ocvote.gov.

Much of Orange County will also be under a wind advisory Tuesday, with 20 to 30 mph winds expected, along with isolated gusts up to 45 mph.

Back in Los Angeles County, Duarte city officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for 25 homes in the Fish Fire burn area beginning at 11 p.m. Monday due to the storm and danger of flooding and debris flows. As of Tuesday morning, only light flows of runoff were reported, but more rain was anticipated in the area as the storm marches on.

Valley View Elementary School, 237 Mel Canyon Road, was closed Tuesday, along with various streets near the burn area, including Brookridge Road and Opal Canyon Road, Opal Canyon Road and Mel Canyon Road, Mel Canyon Road at Deerlane Drive, and Mel Canyon Road at Fish Canyon Road.

The Duarte Community Center, 1600 Huntington Drive, was opened at 11 p.m. Monday as an evacuation center.

The wet weather made for a messy morning commute in many areas. Caltrans officials said traffic was impacted by flooding around mid-morning on the Pasadena (110) Freeway at Via Marisol, with Caltrans workers on the scene to clear drains. Caltrans also reported that the right lanes of southbound Interstate 5 from Branford Street to Sheldon Street/Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Pacoima were closed due to flooding and drainage work.

Rain also had fire crews on alert. Los Angeles fire officials responded Tuesday morning to the Los Angeles River on a report of two vehicles being spotted in the rushing water. Rescue crews were on the scene, but there was no indication that any people were stuck in the river.

Los Angeles County mountains will be under a winter storm warning through 10 a.m. Wednesday, although snow is expected to be restricted to higher elevations, with up to 20 inches possible in areas above 7,000 feet. Little to no accumulation is anticipated below 5,000 feet, forecasters said.

Mountaintop winds could reach up to 70 mph, according to the NWS.

The Antelope Valley will be under a high wind warning through Tuesday night, with winds ranging up to 45 mph, with occasional gusts up to 70 mph.

The wet weather will be accompanied by chillier days and nights. Daytime temperatures are expected to drop into the low 60s in the valleys and the downtown Los Angeles area Monday through Wednesday, with lows in the 50s Monday and Tuesday and the lower 40s Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday’s highs are only expected to reach 58 in Pasadena and Santa Clarita and 53 in Lancaster.

The Antelope Valley will see overnight temperatures below freezing level later this week, with lows of 33, 30 and 31 degrees expected Wednesday through Friday.

A drying and warming trend is expected by later in the week.

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