Crews work on cleaning up a mudslide on Hicrest Road near Glendora on Friday, February 28, 2014. The neighborhood is adjacent to the area burned by the Colby Fire in the Angeles National Forest in January. The lack of vegetation on the mountains has officials concerned about mudslides.
UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: L.A. County Fire just issued an emergency evacuation order for everyone on Ridgeview Drive. Everyone is to evacuate immediately. Keep roadways clear for emergency personnel. Do not enter the area at all.
Azusa Police tell KPCC that they are extending the evacuation order from 10 homes to 26, after 2-3 feet of mud began to accumulate in the backyards of a couple of homes in the area. Police say the hillside is unstable and the anticipated incoming storm cell heading towards Azusa may exacerbate the problem.
"Mud is very heavy, and if we get heavy rains, the situation can be changed quickly," said Sgt. Sam Fleming of the Azusa Police Department. "That could cause some problems for people that wanted to stay there, so we're under a mandatory evacuation. We're not letting foot traffic or anyone back into that neighborhood."
Heavy rain continues to fall across Southern California Friday as a second winter storm entered the region, producing heavy rainfall and leading to road closures, fallen trees, minor mudslides and continuing vigilance on the part of residents and officials.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm is expected to continue to produce heavy rainfall through the weekend, with a chance of thunderstorms through Saturday night. A winter storm warning is expected to remain in effect until 3 a.m. Sunday.
About 1.25 inches of rain fell at USC near downtown Los Angeles, while the Van Nuys Airport reported getting 2 inches. The mountains have seen much more precipitation, with Mount Baldy reporting nearly 5 inches.
Some 4 to 5 inches of rain are forecast for the foothill areas, twice that amount in the mountain ridge areas, according to Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers.
“We may even see sun break through, but not to be fooled by that,” said Jeffers. “They expect this storm to be all the way through until about 9 o'clock on Saturday evening.”
The CHP reported about 158 collisions in Los Angeles County between 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday, more than three times the number of accidents reported on a non-rain day.
Flash flood warnings have been issued throughout the Los Angeles area:
- A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for the Madison Fire burn area near Monrovia. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Highland Place north of Hillcrest Blvd; Scenic Drive; Lotone Street; Heather Heights Court north of Scenic Drive; Avocado Place; the 600 block of Hillcrest Boulevard; and the 900 block of Crescent Drive.
- More Flash Flood Warnings have been issued for the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County and near Redlands in the Inland Empire.
- Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab has received the first report of "a little bit of mud flow" on Hicrest Road, near the intersection of Sierra Madre Avenue and Yucca Ridge. Also, mud is flowing in "the setback area behind homes on Ridgeview Drive" according to Azusa police, which is monitoring. There are no immediate reports of damage to homes.
- A flash flood watch is in effect from 3 a.m. Friday until Saturday evening for the Colby, Madison, Madre and Powerhouse fire burn areas in L.A. County.
- As of 10:30 a.m., there has been a report of two feet of mud on Yucca Ridge Road along with other mudflows seen near the Colby burn area.
- A flash flood watch was also in effect for Azusa.
A number of businesses were also affected by the rain. At about 9 a.m., rain that had pooled on the roof of Glendora Village Goldsmith started pouring into the jewelry store said saleswoman Elisha Becerra.
"It sounded like a waterfall," she said. "It was really sloshing in."
The store is in the 100 block of north Glendora Avenue. Workers covered the jewelry cases with tarps and did what they could to keep the valuable inventory safe while they vacuumed up puddles and brought in a dehumidifier to dry the store.
Officials warned early on of mud and debris flows near burn areas and were keeping watch Friday. Police Chief Tim Staab said they will remain vigilant:
“It’s that high volume, short amount of time, intense type of rain that we are really concerned about. That’s what the experts tell us – it is that type of rain that causes the mudslides,” Staab said. “If Mother Nature can be good to us and slow down, we would really be happy with that.”
KPCC's Sharon McNary captured a flow on Hicrest Road near the intersection of Sierra Madre Avenue and Yucca Ridge in near Glendora.
(Video: Mud flows on Hicrest Road near Glendora. Credit: Sharon McNary)
A flash flood watch was in effect from Friday at 3 a.m. until Saturday at 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. There was also a winter storm warning and high wind warnings for other parts of the Southern California region.
Erik Scott, an LAFD spokesman, said rescue workers were called to assist a man who was in the LA River. When they got to the site near Olympic Blvd, he'd already pulled himself out onto the embankment. Firefighters lowered themselves with ropes and pulled him to safety and were treating him in their ambulance.
"Very fast-moving water throughout these areas. Very slippery embankments, and people will get to the edge and not be able to climb up; get to the edge and slip down," said Scott. "So we really try to remind citizens that when these rainstorms impact Los Angeles area, these flood control channels and rivers, arroyos, really quickly fill up with fast moving water, and it creates a potentially life-threatening danger to people that get caught and swept away much easier than they really thought."
The National Weather Service publishes the latest alerts and advisories available on its website.
The LAPD reports that flooding has led to road closures in the Sepulveda Basin in the San Fernando Valley. Burbank Boulevard is closed between Balboa Boulevard and the I-405 Freeway and Victory Boulevard at Woodley Avenue.
Several roads were closed due to potential mud or debris slides in the Colby Fire burn area, as well as potential flooding, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. They include:
- Lake Hughes Road at Elizabeth Lake Road in Castaic.
- Old San Gabriel Canyon Road from the Azusa city boundary to the Angeles National Forest.
- Glendora Mountain Road from Big Dalton Road to East Fork Road in the Angeles National Forest.
- Glendora Ridge Road from Mount Baldy to Glendora Mountain Road, also in the Angeles National Forest.
- Bouquet Canyon Road will be closed in Agua Dulce from Big Oaks Lodge to two miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road at 1 a.m. Friday.
CalTrans reported these closures Friday morning in the Inland Empire:
- State Route 142 at Chino Hills Parkway in San Bernardino County.
- State Route 2 is closed at Big Pines (west of Wrightwood) for the duration of the storm.
- State Route 74 in Riverside County is-closed from Grand to Candy Store due to debris in the roadway.
- State Route 18 between Snow Valley & Big Bear Dam in San Bernardino County is closed due to rock slides.
You can check updated highway conditions on the California Highway Patrol’s Twitter feed.
According to the LADWP, the winter storm has caused power outages in the City of Los Angeles. As of 10 a.m., approximately 14,000 customers of LADWP’s 1.4 million electric customers are without power.
The following areas and neighborhoods have the highest number of customers impacted:
Pacific Palisades: 813
East Hollywood: 847
Echo Park: 698
Beverly Crest: 690
Bel Air: 510
Hyde Park: 398
Canoga Park: 141
West Adams: 42
El Sereno: 35
Crews are working throughout the City to restore power to customers as quickly as possible.
A high surf advisory remains in effect through Sunday, with waves 4 to 7 feet expected at many local beaches on Friday and sets of 8 to 12 feet and as high as 15 feet during the peak Saturday, according to NWS.
The most threatened locations include low-lying areas near Venice Beach and Long Beach. High surf will create strong and dangerous rip currents in the surf zone as well as waves that can suddenly wash people off of beaches and rocks.
Rockslides on the Highway 330 have closed the front road to the resorts, but will probably reopen later.
(Map: Raw precipitation from 12 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, to 12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28. Data source: National Weather Service)
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This story will be updated.