Spring rains hit Southland

A winter-style storm out of the Gulf of Alaska was expected to bring nearly an inch of rain to the Los Angeles area today, as residents in burn areas braced for possible mud flows.

South-facing mountain areas could get up to 3 inches of rain by the time the storm moves east, according to the National Weather Service. Geologists have warned that slides are possible anytime rainfall rates approach an inch per hour.

The rain was expected to be the most intense overnight, with the leading edge of the front sweeping over the region before dawn.

Unstable weather in the wake of the storm front, including gusts out of the southeast up to about 40 mph in the metro area, will bring a chance of thunderstorms and showers through the day.

Rainfall totals around the Los Angeles Basin were expected to range from about 3/4 of an inch to 1 1/2 inches. Highs today will be in the lower 60s.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works crews were monitoring the catch basins in flood-prone foothill neighborhoods such as La Canada Flintridge, where K-rails have lined some canyon roads for months.

Shortly after midnight, a strong storm cell moved over the San Gabriel Mountains, with rainfall rates up to a half-inch per hour, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for burn areas, effective until 3:30 a.m.

There were no reports of flooding or mudslide as of about 1:45 a.m.

A foot or more of snow could fall at elevations of 6,000 feet or more.

With a little more than an half-inch of rain a week ago today, downtown Los Angeles hit its average annual rainfall total of about 15 inches for the first time in five years.

Storm-damaged roads traversing the Angeles National Forest will be closed until the rain quits.

In the mountains, wind gusts up to about 60 mph are possible.