Environment & Science

El Niño brings record rainfall, shuts down lanes on 5, 101 freeways

Flooding happening between Sheldon and Lankersheim on NB/SB 5 in N. LA. shut down several lanes of the freeway.
Flooding happening between Sheldon and Lankersheim on NB/SB 5 in N. LA. shut down several lanes of the freeway.
CalTrans
Flooding happening between Sheldon and Lankersheim on NB/SB 5 in N. LA. shut down several lanes of the freeway.
A photo showing a minor debris flow in the Camarillo Springs area, posted by Ventury County Fire Captain Mike Lindbery on Twitter.
Ventura County FD Capt. Mike Lindbery
Flooding happening between Sheldon and Lankersheim on NB/SB 5 in N. LA. shut down several lanes of the freeway.
The 5 freeway in Sun Valley was shut down except for one lane Wednesday due to flooding.
screengrab from NBC4
Flooding happening between Sheldon and Lankersheim on NB/SB 5 in N. LA. shut down several lanes of the freeway.
Sierra Madre Boulevard in Glendora, seen here looking eastbound toward Barranca Avenue on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, has been closed from Yucca Ridge to Barranca Avenue due to flooding.
Glendora Police Department


Heavy El Niño rain returned Wednesday, shutting down lanes of the 5 and 101 freeways and affecting several homes in Pasadena. The heaviest rains were expected to bring up to 3 inches of rain to most areas around Los Angeles and continue through Thursday. 

Here's what you need to know: Weather outlook | Road closures & evacuations | Flash flood warnings

Updates: 

Road closures & evacuations

Flooding shut down lanes of the 5 Freeway in Sun Valley on Wednesday, NBC4 reported, but all lanes were later reopened. The flooding had been reported in the southbound lanes from Sheldon Avenue to Lankershim Boulevard with all lanes closed except the carpool lane. 

Watch video showing the depth of water on the 5 Freeway:

5 Freeway video

Residents were evacuated from 10 mobile homes at the Crescent Valley Mobile Estates, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. Debris and mudflow in the Calgrove burn area led to the evacuation, according to the release.

Los Angeles County Emergency Program Manager Ken Kondo says some of those removed from homes in Newhall on Wednesday are elderly or disabled, the Associated Press reported.

Hundreds of people were forced to flee the Crescent Valley mobile home park in June when a fire burned more than 400 acres of steep ridges and hillsides, according to the AP. The fire left the area black and barren, and watery mud began flowing into the streets of the park Tuesday. After a pause, the flow began again along with the rain Wednesday.

Mud poured across lanes of the 101 Freeway, shutting down one southbound lane near the Solimar burn area in Ventura County, according to Caltrans.

Flash flood warnings

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings across Los Angeles County for areas including the Calgrove, Cabin, Tecolote, Shoemaker and Williams burn areas.

A flash flood warning was also issued for Ventura County’s Solimar burn area and an aerial flood advisory was in effect for southern parts of Ventura County, National Weather Service meteorologist Emily Thornton told KPCC.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department posted this video of flooding at Emma Wood State Beach:

Ventura County flooding

A Pasadena hillside was compromised, with a retaining wall, mud and debris coming into backyards below, the Pasadena Fire Department's Lisa Derderian told KPCC. Two houses were affected, one of which was for sale.

https://twitter.com/PasadenaFD/status/684809435051503616

The homes were not redtagged by building officials, but a resident was advised to be ready to evacuate if needed, Derderian said.

"The concern is that continued oversaturation the next couple days could bring down additional parts of this hillside," Derderian said.

Two Pasadena fire stations went through 800 sandbags in a 24-hour period this week, Derderian said.

A flash flood warning means that flooding, debris and mud flows are imminent or are already happening.

Flash flood safety tips 

If you live in or below a burn area prone to flash floods, Los Angeles County provided the following safety tips in a release: 

How Orange County is dealing with the El Niño storms

Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi said there were three swift water rescue calls Wednesday. 
 
“Water if it’s fallen about six inches tall or higher, could easily sweep you off your feet,” Concialdi said. 
 
A road closure also occurred Tuesday and lasted into Wednesday due to mudslides on Silverado Canyon Road. Concialdi said that O.C. Public Works promptly took care of the situation Wednesday, but the road was closed for about five hours Tuesday.
 
“There can be and there will be mud and debris flow, so make sure you protect your property,” Concialdi said.

Public works tweet

Having El Niño issues? Emergency services offers help line

The L.A. County Emergency Operations Center activated Wednesday to support local areas, agencies and community organizations responding to El Niño rains. 

L.A. County residents, renters and business owners, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, can call 2-1-1 toll-free for emergency preparedness information, and other referral services 24 hours a day. 211 L.A. County services can also be accessed by visiting 211la.org.

More rain expected through Thursday

Wednesday’s heaviest rain was expected to fall between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., bringing 2 to 3 inches of rain in most areas, and 4 to 5 inches in higher elevations, National Weather Service meteorologist Emily Thornton told KPCC.

Wednesday’s high temperatures were expected to be in the mid-50s, with lows forecast in the mid-40s.

Light showers were expected to follow into Thursday evening and possibly Friday morning, with a slight chance of thunderstorms Wednesday night and into Thursday.

Showers are predicted to continue off and on through Saturday.

10 to 12 inches of snow closes schools in Lake Arrowhead

The Running Springs area near Lake Arrowhead received 10 to 12 inches of snow Tuesday and expects another foot or more Wednesday.
The Running Springs area near Lake Arrowhead received 10 to 12 inches of snow Tuesday and expects another foot or more Wednesday.
Courtsesy Bob Torrez, Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs

The Running Springs area near Lake Arrowhead received 10 to 12 inches of snow Tuesday and expected another foot or more Wednesday, Kevin Somes of Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs told KPCC.

Rim of the World School District in Lake Arrowhead announced they'd be closing schools Wednesday due to snow.

Skiers and snowboarders were out on the slopes and snow was falling moderately as of noon, Somes said.

Cars traveling on highways 330 and 18 are required to have chains on their tires, Somes said. He advised that vehicles with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive also carry chains since sometimes checkpoint officers in the area require even those vehicles to have them during heavy snow. 

For people who need to put chains on their tires, Somes offers the following tips:

Tuesday's storms bring 'gustnado,' 400M gallons of captured water

The National Weather Service said 1.42 inches of rain fell Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport, beating the 1979 record for the date by a tenth of an inch, the Associated Press reported.

L.A. County shared a stormwater capture update from the rainy weather:

https://twitter.com/LAPublicWorks/status/684539341306122241

High winds also hit the Southland Tuesday when a phenomenon the National Weather Service called a “gustnado” damaged roofs and windows in Vernon.

Gustnados are typically brief wind events that extend 30 to 300 feet above the ground with no apparent connection to the cloud above, with wind speeds that can reach 60 to 80 mph, NBC4 reported.

The station showed video of the gusty weather event:

This post has been updated.