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Approaching storms expected to bring scattered downpours through the night

Mud flows between houses and into the street in an evacuated neighborhood during the fourth storm of the week on January 21, 2010 in La Canada Flintridge, California.
Mud flows between houses and into the street in an evacuated neighborhood during the fourth storm of the week on January 21, 2010 in La Canada Flintridge, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

Strong thunderstorms continue to develop off the region's coast, possibly bringing hail, strong winds and lightning to the area through the night. Evacuations of neighborhoods were ordered as the risk of mud and debris flows threatened areas stripped of vegetation by wildfires. In response to the storms, the Governor's office issued a state of emergency for five counties throughout the state.

Latest | Permalink Flood warning to remain in effect for Los Angeles, Antelope Valley The National Weather Service has reported the flood advisory for wide swaths of Los Angeles and Ventura counties will remain in effect until 12:30 a.m. Doppler radar indicated that scattered showers and thunderstorms continue developing off the coast and moving inland. The incoming showers may drop moderate to heavy rainfall Long Beach, downtown L.A., cities in Ventura County and the Antelope Valley. Rainfall rates are expected to bring at least a quarter inch per hour, and pose a risk of flooding in poor drainage areas. -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 8:09 p.m. | Permalink River search called off for missing OC boy Rescue workers in Orange County have pulled a 14-year-old boy from a rain-swollen Santa Ana River, but another one remains missing. Capt. Ed Engler of the Orange Fire Department said rescuers called off a search for the boy Thursday evening after scouring an 11-mile stretch of the river from Orange to the ocean. Engler says swift water rescue teams looked for him from bridges while helicopters with heat-seeking radar scanned the river. Engler says the water is moving at up to 7 mph and is full of mud and debris from the recent storms. The river currently has 40 times its normal volume of water. -Associated Press
Updated at 7:55 p.m. | Permalink Severe thunderstorm warning issued for eastern Los Angeles County The National Weather Service is issuing a sever thunderstorm warning for east central Los Angeles County, that is set to expire at 8:00 p.m. NWS reported that doppler radar indicated that the thunderstorm is capable of dropping quarter-size hail and winds in excess of 60 mph. The storm was expected to affect areas near South San Jose Hills, West Covina and Pomona. A severe thunderstorm warning that was issued for Los Angeles County expired at 7:30 p.m., according to NWS. -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 7:10 p.m. | Permalink Power pole in danger of falling in Sherman Oaks Emergency crews are on the scene where a power pole is apparently in danger of falling along Mulholland Drive in the hills above Sherman Oaks. Police will be diverting traffic away from the area of Mulholland at Nicada Drive, near Beverly Glen Boulevard, until DWP crews arrive. -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 6:50 p.m. | Permalink OC officials report no major storm damage Orange County may have emerged fairly unscathed by the series of storms pounding the Southland, as no major flooding or debris flows were reported. Through this afternoon there had been no major problems, according to fire and law enforcement officials. The area remains under a flood watch until 10 p.m. The major impacts of the fourth storm to hit the Southland appeared to be scattered power outages, canceled flights at John Wayne Airport and the closing of Ortega Highway. Nearly three-quarters of an inch of rain fell on Orange County, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tina Stall. Read more. -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 5:50 p.m. | Permalink CSU Long Beach to reopen Friday Campus officials have announced that California State University, Long Beach will reopen on Friday, Jan. 22., although some repair work will continue in areas affected by flood damage. Officials are urging that students, faculty and staff check the university Web site at www.csulb.edu for the latest updates regarding the campus' status. -KPCC staff
Updated at 5:33 p.m. | Permalink State of emergency declared in 5 counties affected by storms Acting Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency today in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties in response to the series of storms that have caused widespread flooding, power outages and some mudslides. The declaration frees up state funding and resources to be used in response to the deluge. According to the declaration, the problems caused by the storms are "likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat.'' The disaster declaration also includes San Francisco and Siskiyou counties. Brown, the state attorney general, is acting governor while Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Washington, D.C. -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 5:17 p.m. | Permalink Utility crews scramble to restore power to customers At least 15,000 customers were without electric today due to weather-related power outages, utility officials reported. As of 2:15 p.m., 10,962 Southern California Edison customers in several Southland counties were without electricity in the utility's 50,000-square-mile jurisdiction. The hardest-hit areas included 2,148 customers without power in Wildomar; 582 in Huntington Beach; 568 in Rowland Heights; 513 in Whittier; 471 in Winchester; 416 in Palm Springs; and 402 in Corona. As of 4 p.m., about 4,100 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers were without electricity, including areas of Hyde Park and Van Nuys. -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 3:38 p.m. | Permalink Fire offical warns of flash floods - even in sunny areas Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief Mike Takeshita warns flash floods can happen even in sunny areas. He said he's been training his crews to watch - and listen for the crashing of water and debris above them. "In some cases, even though it might be raining, you could still have some debris coming down from up above higher in the foothills that you're not aware of," he said. "So we've had training with mud and debris flow - what to expect if you hear unusual noises and you look at your partner and you say 'have you heard that?'. Then that's a heads up that something's happening."
Updated at 3:09 p.m. | Permalink Long Beach takes a beating from storms The heavy rains of the week have pounded Long Beach, and since Tuesday, the campus of California State University Long Beach has been dealing with the fallout. Officials closed the campus on Wednesday afternoon and it has remained closed Thursday. Read more. - Brian Watt
Updated at 2:55 p.m. | Permalink Blanchard Canyon Road area is evacuated KPCC's Frank Stoltze reports from Blanchard Canyon Road today: "Down below me I'm looking at a creek that's got a lot of water in it. The water's very dark, very muddy. This is an evacuation area. Police and fire have been through here several times already asking people to leave. Several families have refused to leave.The big concern here: this is an area that sits directly below the Station Fire burn area.  And the concern is debris will come crashing through this creek and wipe out some of the homes. Officials have warned some of the residents who've stayed behind that they may not be able to get back up in to rescue them if that happens. But people are still staying." - Frank Stoltze
Updated at 2:40 p.m. | Permalink Free boarding for animals at VCA animal hospitals VCA animal hospitals located near La Crescenta, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge and Altadena are offering free boarding for animals whose owners have been been evacuated or displaced from their homes as a result of the storms. Boarding assistance for pets is based on space availability at participating hospitals. A list of locations can be found online at vcahospitals.com.
Updated at 1:19 p.m. | Permalink Residents near Blanchard Canyon Road creek refuse to evacuate Frank Stoltze is on the scene at Blanchard Canyon Road, where he filed this video report. - Frank Stoltze
Updated at 12:40 p.m. | Permalink Entire city of LA under flash flood watch The current round of storms is expected to last until 6 p.m. today, with rain averaging half an inches to three-quarters of an inch per hour. The entire city of Los Angeles is currently under a flash flood watch; the most recent flash flood watch is for downtown L.A. By Friday, total rainfall is expected to reach four to eight inches in Coastal and Valley areas, eight to 16 inches in the Foothill areas, and up to 20 inches in the burn areas. There may be flash flooding and debris flow in the burn areas, as well as flooding and rock slides in other areas. In the Foothill area, 176 additional homes have been given mandatory evacuation orders. The city of Los Angeles is working with the American Red Cross to shelter displaced residents at the Sunland Tujunga Recreation Center. Small animals are being sheltered at the Sunland Recreation Center and the Northeast Animal Shelter, while large animals are being sheltered at Pierce College. Southbound Woodley Ave. at Victory Blvd., Burbank Blvd. between Balboa Blvd. and the 405 and southbound Burbank Blvd. at the 405 off-ramp are closed. As of 10:30 a.m. this morning, the Department of Water and Power was reporting approximately 1,700 customers without power. This included small areas of Mission Hills and Hyde Park, as well as other scattered outages. - Mike Roe
Updated at 10:42 a.m. | Permalink Meteorologist urges not ignoring storm advisories Today’s storm is expected to drop another two inches of rain along the coast and in the valleys, and up to four inches over the foothills. Meteorologist Jamie Meyer, with the National Weather Service, says there are some storm advisories you shouldn’t ignore. "We do have a flash flood watch in effect for the recently burned areas, as well as a high surf advisory for coastal locations, and that’s due to the large surf that has been generated by the series of storms, as well as a high rip current risk – not that anybody would like to be out in the waters today," said Meyer. "And we also a have winter storm warning in effect for the mountains and that’s due to those high snowfall totals with the combination of a little bit of wind.” Meyer says the snow could be as low as 3,500 feet tonight; higher elevations could get nearly two feet. - KPCC staff
Updated at 9:54 a.m. | Permalink Deputy fire chief calls for foothill residents to leave homes when asked Deputy Fire Chief Mike Metro echoed earlier calls for foothill residents to leave their homes when asked. "If we do get significant debris flows in those areas, those people are going to be isolated," said Metro. "They're not going to be able to get out. They're going to be trapped in their homes. And equally as important, maybe more important, is if they have a critical medical need, we may not be able to get to them. So that's very important. "And there's still time to have those folks leave and some in fact have," Metro added. "They refused to go yesterday but they said 'I'm through with this' and they're going today. That's good." - Frank Stoltze
Updated at 9:16 a.m. | Permalink Tujunga man talks about helping neighbors in storm Doc Caine lives below the evacuation area in Tujunga. He says he's ready to help neighbors who are further up the hill. "Heck yeah," said Caine. "We have a generator. We've let people use our generator when their power goes out. We have lots of gasoline. Three 15 gallons of propane so if anybody needs anything, come on over and we'll have a big ol' barbeque." Caine added, laughing, "Except our patio is flooding, but put on your galoshes, we're good." When asked if he's done anything to prepare for the storm, Caine replied, "My wife and I we have sandbags – our patio was flooded. We bought a new house and there was a roof leak while we were remodeling the kitchen and the roofing company was great. They came out yesterday after a phone call, they fixed it and its perfect." - Frank Stoltze
Updated at 8:39 a.m. | Permalink USGS warns evacuees to stay out of foothill homes below Station Fire With more rain expected today on saturated, fire-denuded mountainsides, officials from the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies are warning evacuated residents to stay out of foothill homes below the site of the Station Fire. "Based on all the rain we've had this week, if we get showers of any intensity there's still a chance of debris flows from the Station burn areas," Oxnard-based National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan said today. "We do have potential for 2 to 4 more inches of rain in the mountains today," Kaplan said, adding that with a fast-moving thunderstorm, it may not take much to trigger slides. Evacuation orders issued to the residents of more than 750 homes in the foothills remained in effect today. The evacuated areas of Little Tujunga, La Crescenta, La Canada and Glendale are in Los Angeles county and city jurisdictions. Earlier this week, debris flows 8 feet to 12 feet high destroyed USGS monitoring equipment in Dunsmore Canyon, USGS scientists in Pasadena said. In a statement headlined, "Southern California residents urged to heed evacuation orders as rain continues," USGS debris flow specialist Susan Cannon evoked previous deadly storms in Southern California. "The forecast rainfall for the next 48 hours is comparable to that which occurred during a 1969 storm that triggered landslides, debris flows and floods throughout Southern California, resulting in the deaths of 34 people," Cannon said. "Because the hills above Glendora had been burned the previous fall, that area was particularly hard hit during the 1969 storm," Cannon said. The storm forecast through today is also similar to the Christmas Day storm of 2003, which triggered debris flows from nearly every watershed burned by the Old and Grand Prix fires in the San Bernardino Mountains, resulting in widespread destruction and the deaths of 16 people, according to the USGS. The warning might seem like overkill to evacuation-weary foothill residents. But an aging flood-control system of debris basins and channels offers only partial protection below the burned areas, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Slope failures and debris flows are possible in some cases up to 72 hours after rains on burned areas, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "In Southern California, debris flows and floods have over history killed a comparable number of people as earthquakes," said USGS seismologist Lucy Jones. "These past deadly debris flows highlight that residents should not be complacent, and those with evacuation orders need to leave." -KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 8:32 a.m. | Permalink Crews work to restore power to thousands of Southern California residents Utility crews worked this morning to restore power to more than 7,000 customers affected by the storms. As of about 4 a.m., about 3,000 customers were without electricity in Brentwood and Koreatown, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The figure was down from about 5,000 residences and businesses without electricity late Wednesday, said utility spokeswoman Maychelle Yee. Though none of the reported outages this morning involved downed power lines, Yee warned that downed lines remain a possible hazard as a new storm moves across the Southland. As of about 4:30 a.m., 4,579 Southern California Edison customers were without electricity, many of them in Whittier, West Covina, Rolling Hills, Chino Hills, and Yucaipa, said SCE spokesman Charles Coleman. That figure was down from about 18,000 reported outages late Wednesday afternoon in SCE's 50,000-square-mile jurisdiction, which spans several Southland counties. - KPCC Wire Services
Updated at 8:26 a.m. | Permalink Tujunga man deals with storm, evacuations Scott Christiansen lives in the Tujunga area. He spoke with KPCC's Frank Stoltze. "Rain gutters are getting filled up quick, and just keeping an eye on everything," said Christiansen. "We have a lot of friends, up the hill from us, above Foothill that are being evacuated, so we're helping them out." When asked how they will help their friends and if they're ready to take them in if necessary, Christiansen said "We actually already have a couple of friends that are staying with us maybe part of the day today, and if things get hairy, maybe tonight. Christiansen said that, today, he's going to "Get to work, get as much done as I can and try to get out of there a little early so I can get home and see what's going on. One of my rain gutters flew off yesterday so I gotta go get some long nails and get that thing back in there." - Frank Stoltze
Updated at 8:09 a.m. | Permalink The warm front of the latest storm – the fourth since Monday – hit the region overnight, with its main front expected this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The storm could generate isolated waterspouts in the Long Beach- Huntington Beach area, as it did earlier this week, said NWS meteorologist Curt Kaplan. The rain, which is expected to be moderate to heavy today, will taper off tonight, although it will produce lingering showers Friday, Kaplan said, adding that there is a chance of rain Tuesday. Showers will increase in intensity this morning, then continue – heavy at times – into tonight, according to an NWS advisory. Across burn areas, the intensity of the rainfall likely will peak late this morning through the early evening hours, the advisory said. It said that peak rainfall rates of between a half and three quarters of an inch per hour are possible, as are thunderstorms. A flash flood watch for areas denuded by fire in 2008 and 2009 will remain in effect through late tonight. Residents of more than 800 homes beneath fire-denuded hills have been given evacuation orders, and while most heeded the warning, some insisted on remaining behind Wednesday, officials said. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Chief Neil Tyler said that of the 519 homes that were under evacuation orders in La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Acton, about 75 percent of residents agreed to leave. Evacuation orders were also enforced for 262 homes in the southern Tujunga communities of Alpine Village, Seven Hills, Blanchard Canyon Road, Tujunga and Riverwood. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said another 60 homes in the Haines Canyon area were evacuated late Wednesday. Tyler said officials will keep watching the skies to determine when people will be allowed to return. Residents were told to be prepared to remain out of their homes until Monday. - KPCC Wire Services