An intense winter storm has pummeled the Bay Area on its way to Southern California, knocking out power, causing flight delays and prompting schools and local businesses to close for the day. Local authorities are helping residents prepare for the potential for mudslides, flooding and dangerously high surf. Voluntary evacuations have been recommended for residents near the Camarillo Springs and Colby Fire burn areas. Mandatory evacuations will begin at 10 p.m.
- 9:21 p.m. Part of Highway 1 washed out in Marin County
- 6:42 p.m. LAUSD preps for LA rain as Central Valley faces dust
- 4:39 p.m. Mandatory evacuations for Colby Fire area at 10 p.m.
- 3:20 p.m. 105 flights to and from LAX affected
- 12:27 p.m. LA County braces for the storm
- 11:10 a.m. Storm pummels Bay Area (and how to prepare)
9:21 p.m. Part of Highway 1 washed out in Marin County
California transportation officials say heavy rains have washed out a portion of the southbound lane of Highway 1 in Marin County.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the washout Thursday night forced closure of the southbound lane of Highway 1 between Panoramic and Muir Woods Road in Muir Beach.
California Department of Transportation official Will Hauke says the closure was limited to the southbound lane and that Caltrans engineers will reassess the damage on Friday.
Hauke says repairs are estimated to take until March and could require a full closure of Highway 1 or a detour for southbound traffic. He says it's possible that Caltrans could install signals that would allow traffic in both directions to alternately use a single lane.
Los Angeles schools are preparing for the storm. Roger Finstad, director of Los Angeles Unified School District maintenance and operations, sent out an alert to district staff directing them to prepare for the rain by clearing any catch basins, gutters, downspouts and other drains that have caused problems in the past.
Finstad also urged schools to protect any open areas that are under construction and to stock up on sand, sandbags and other supplies.
“Be prepared for emergency response anytime, but especially during this upcoming rain event,” he said.
While much of California gets soaked, parts of the Central Valley are getting doused with dust, the Associated Press reports. Forecaster Dan Harty of the National Weather Service says that gusts ahead of an advancing rain storm hit over 40 mph Thursday in places such as Merced and Bakersfield.
That's creating dust that is causing zero visibility in some areas, according to the AP. Harty says the storms should move into the Central Valley late Thursday and drop rain throughout the night.
— KPCC staff
The City of Glendora will raise the alert level to red at 10 p.m. Thursday in anticipation of the storm. Mandatory evacuations for the Colby Fire impact area will be in effect at that time.
The Crowther Teen Center Evacuation Center located at 241 W. Dawson, in Glendora, is currently open, and Inland Valley Humane Society there to assist with small animals. Horses can be taken to the Pomona Fairgrounds, Gate 1, in Pomona.
A total of 105 flights coming into LAX or departing were either delayed or canceled Thursday, the majority of them due to weather conditions in other cities, said spokeswoman Amanda Parsons.
It was too early to know if the coming storm would cause delays of flights originating at LAX late Thursday or on Friday, she said, advising travelers to check with their airlines about flight status before they leave for the airport.
Local authorities in Southern California are preparing residents for a heavy storm headed to the region late Thursday.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department is beefing up its staffing for the 24-hour period beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday night, said Inspector Rick Flores.
That means more manpower placed throughout the county, including an urban search and rescue team, a helicopter rescue team, five swift water rescue teams, and a K-9 rescue team.
Fire camp crews will also be available to help out during the storm.
They are locating bulldozers and other heavy earthmoving equipment in areas that might see mud and debris flows coming from recent burn areas like the Colby Fire area above Glendora.
Areas under flash flood watches beginning tonight are Acton, Antelope Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale, Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley, Mount Wilson, Pomona and the local mountains.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office has issued a voluntary evacuation alert for residents on San Como Lane and Gitana Avenue near the Camarillo Springs burn area.
The city of Glendora is warning residents who live close to the Colby burn area to stay clear during the coming rainstorm.
"We have upgraded to the Orange alert level in our city, which is voluntary evacuations, and we are recommending that people take us up on that recommendation," she said.
Glendale Police Corporal Shawna Celello said the city has 22,000 additional sandbags to give out, a few thousand more than it passed out in advance of last week's rain.
Areas of concern are north of Sierra Madre Avenue, especially the Rainbow Drive area, Easley Canyon and homes along Palm Drive.
She advised residents to park off the street and remove trash containers or other objects that could float away in the rain and cause problems.
Caption: Residents were able to pick up sandbags from the Glendora City Yard to protect their homes in Glendora, Calif. Credit: Susanica Tam/ KPCC
An intense winter storm has pummeled the Bay Area on its way to Southern California, knocking out power, causing flight delays and prompting schools and local businesses to close for the day.
According to the Associated Press, more than 93,000 utility customers were without power in San Francisco shortly after 11 a.m. because of the storm, which arrived overnight and dumped heavy rain north of the city before spreading over the region.
Four inches of rain have fallen in just 24 hours, and winds have averaged more than 30 mph, with one gust northwest of Lake Tahoe clocked at 107 mph, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Times reports that at San Francisco International Airport, 238 flights had been canceled by late morning and travelers were experiencing delays of two to four hours.
Capital Public Radio reports the inclement weather has prompted schools and local businesses, including the Sacramento Zoo, to shut down for the day.
Boat trips to Alcatraz Island, the former prison turned San Francisco tourist destination, have been canceled because of the storm. Tickets will be refunded and the company that operates the tours said it will be open again Friday, AP reports.
Storm headed for SoCal
The same storm is expected to settle over Southern California late Thursday, bringing high winds, heavy surf and rainfall of 1 to 2 inches in coastal and valley communities and up to 4 inches in the foothills and mountains.
Rainfall totals could be even higher in isolated areas, according to Scott Sukup, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The heaviest rain is expected to reach the Los Angeles area sometime after midnight, Sukup told KPCC.
Some local beaches could see wave sets reaching up to 12 feet, causing problems with beach erosion and creating dangerous conditions for swimmers and surfers, he said.
Lifeguards are advising beachgoers that big waves can crash onto rock jetties, piers and beaches and carry people out to sea.
Emergency response workers are meanwhile checking on the sand berm protecting homes along Seal Beach, said Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steven Concialdi.
Ventura County will have its ocean rescue team in place Friday and Saturday, officials said.
A team of L.A. County lifeguards will accompany the swift water rescue team assigned to the beach at Malibu starting Friday evening, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Rick Flores. Four other swift water rescue teams will be on duty around the county's rivers and drainage channels.
In Glendora, officials raised the alert level to orange and recommended voluntary evacuations.
U.S. Forest Service patrols were circulating through popular areas of the local mountains Thursday, warning visitors to stay clear of creeks and rivers during the storm. A flash flood warning is expected to be in effect once the storm arrives.
"Even though it might not be raining where you're at, it could be raining above you, and that sudden surge of water could come down the creek and wipe you off your feet," said Nathan Judy, Forest Service spokesman.
The same warning applies to vehicles, he said.
Motorists heading into the mountains should be alert to the potential for flash floods and have chains for their tires, as the snow is expected at Mount Baldy, Wrightwood and upper reaches of Highway 2 and other areas above 5,000 feet elevation.
"Bring extra clothes, extra water and extra food just in case you do get trapped in your vehicle and you can't leave anywhere for a while."
A driver died when flooding swept his vehicle off a road in the Bear Canyon area near Mount Baldy in late October, Judy said.
Meanwhile, drought-conscious local water utilities want customers to turn off their sprinklers and to leave them off for five to 10 days after the rain ends.
"There’s nothing more wasteful than running sprinklers during or after it rains, and there’s no easier way to save water and money than to shut your sprinklers off," Marty Adams, a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power executive, said in an emailed statement.
The DWP says about half of the city's drinking water is used for outdoors irrigation, and halting outdoor watering can help the city conserve its water stores in the ongoing drought.
The following evacuation alerts were sent Thursday:
- In Ventura County, voluntary evacuations for residents on San Como Lane and Gitana Avenue near the Camarillo Springs burn area.
- In Glendora, voluntary evacuations for residents near the Colby burn area. Areas of concern are north of Sierra Madre Avenue, especially the Rainbow Drive area, Easley Canyon and homes along Palm Drive.
The L.A. County Fire Department has issued the following tips for residents living in or near burn areas, such as this year's Colby Fire:
- Closely monitor updates from radio and television news on weather and flooding in your area.
- Identify what you'll take if forced to evacuate. Consider computers, mobile devices, photos, important documents, medications, and other things you may need.
- Be prepared to leave on a moment's notice.
- Have an emergency plan that is easy to understand and alternate evacuation routes.
- Have enough food and water for at least 72 hours.
- Have a radio, flashlight and fresh batteries in your kit.
- Get sandbags and other materials at L.A. County fire stations.
County fire officials also released some general guidelines people should follow in order to stay safe during a storm:
- Avoid flood control channels, catch basins, canyons and natural waterways.
- Don't attempt to cross flooded areas or enter moving water, even in a vehicle.
- If you're trapped in your car in a flood, stay inside if you can or wait on top of your vehicle for assistance.
- If you're isolated, seek higher ground and wait for help.
- Don't attempt to rescue someone who has been swept into moving water. Call 9-1-1 and, if possible, throw them a rope or some kind of flotation device.
The L.A. County Department of Public Works has created an interactive map to help you locate fire stations where you can pick up sandbags to help you prepare for the storm.
Click here for the interactive map (Credit: L.A. DPW)
This story has been updated.