LA Rain: More rain, thunderstorms expected; evacuations continue (Updated)

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Steady rain drenched much of Southern California Saturday, with more showers and thunderstorms expected throughout the night, according to the National Weather Service. In the San Gabriel Valley Foothills, bursts of showers caused rocks to tumble down hillsides and pushed mud into backyards. 

Update 6:15 pm Saturday: Monrovia officials lift evacuation order.

Mandatory evacuation of about 1,000 homes remained in effect Saturday in Glendora. At a 1 p.m. press conference, Glendora city manager Chris Jeffers said evacuation orders will continue until experts say deescalation is appropriate.

One home had mud creep into a garage and there have been reports of mud in backyards or pools but nothing major as of the time of the press conference.

"A couple of dozen properties have experienced some sort of mud coming into their properties," Jeffers said at the press conference. "We only had one home that had intrusion of mud to the garage, but nothing into the residential part of a home. We have mud in pools, yards and right up to the home."

Sudden downpours caused problems throughout the region. There were reports of flooding on the 134 and 5 freeways in Northeast L.A. Saturday afternoon, and an eight foot-by-four foot sinkhole estimated at 10 feet deep brought repair crews to Little Tokyo in downtown L.A. 

The two-lane Ortega Highway, which connects Riverside and Orange counties, remained closed Saturday and will be closed until the rain subsides, a Caltrans spokeswoman said. The 30-mile section of the highway that runs from Lake Elsinore to San Juan Capistrano is used by an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 motorists daily, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

Four major roads in Palm Springs that dip through Palm Canyon Wash were closed Saturday. Indian Canyon Drive, Gene Autry Trail, Vista Chino and Araby Road were inaccessible because there are no bridges where they cross the wash.

An unstable hillside in Azusa prompted L.A. County Fire to issue an emergency evacuation order Friday afternoon for 26 homes on Ridgeview Drive. It remained in effect Saturday.

"At 5 o'clock this morning, we had another burst up there, we had another section of mud come down off of the hillside and continue to fill up one of those backyards," said Azusa Police Sergeant Sam Fleming.

The first wave of the weekend winter storm dumped as much as 9.2 inches of precipitation in local mountains. Automated rain gauges operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works are used to dispatch flood control and road repair crews. As of 10  a.m. Saturday, the 48-hour total showed:

  • 9.2 inches at the Clear Creek station, near the Station Burn area north of Mt. Wilson
  • 4.72 inches at La Canada-Flintridge, just south of the Station Burn area
  • 4.72 inches at Sepulveda Canyon, near Getty Center
  • 4.06 inches at Pine Canyon Portal, in the San Francisquito Canyon burn area
  • 3.5 inches at Agoura Hills
  • 3.31 inches in Malibu Canyon at Monte Nido
  • 2.8 inches at Hollywood Reservoir
  • 2.17 inches at the Bel Air Hotel above Westwood
  • 2.01 inches at Castaic Junction, and
  • 1.37 inches at Huntington Beach. 

Early Saturday morning the National Weather Service also issued a tornado warning near Walnut in East L.A. County, with reports of 1" hail confirmed from early morning thunderstorms. Radar images posted to the weather service's Twitter account show there were signs of a "weak tornado near Walnut, Azusa and [the] Colby Burn area."

Monrovia city spokeswoman Alexis Bakofsky says homes on Highland Place and Crescent Drive have been the most affected by the storm. 

"We have had mud flow into some pools in the residential areas around the Madison Fire," Bakofsky told KPCC. "We've got a lot of mud coming into backyards and we are doing our best to try to keep mud out of homes, but we are getting some reports of new mud flow/debris flow and some mud up against some homes."

A flash flood watch is in effect for the region 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 Southern California.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie says it's possible another strong thunderstorm could bring two more inches Saturday in some areas.

"We're expecting, instead of a blanket of rain, the rain is going to be coming in a showery form, so the difference is it's going to be more hit and miss," said Kathy Hoxsie.

Glendora Police Chief Timothy Staat announced that mail delivery in the areas of Glendora affected by mudslides had been cancelled for Saturday. In Azusa at least one home on Ridge View Avenue was damaged by the rain and mud flows submerging its backyard in at least a foot of mud, according to Azusa police. 

Here's a closer view of the mudslide threatening homes:

Power Outages:

Southern California Edison spokesman David Song says as of 9 a.m. there are 12,950 Edison customers without power in their 50,000 square-mile service territory. No estimate for when power will be restored. Click here for a current list of affected areas

Officials are working to restore power near the area of Sierra Madre Boulevard and Michillinda Avenue near Pasadena's Eastern border with the City of Sierra Madre. This outage is a result of downed power lines in the area. Avoid the area if possible.

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Surf Advisory

A high surf advisory remains in effect through Sunday, with waves 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. 

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Snow Reports

Big Bear and Snow Summit received 8″ to 10″ of snow overnight and are open to the public Saturday.  

Rockslides on Highway 330 had closed the front road to the resorts on Friday, but the road is expected to open by Saturday afternoon. 

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Precipitation Map

(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.

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