Evacuations Ordered As Monster Storm Brings Flooding, Tornado Threat

February 5, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

LOS ANGELES, CA — Hours before a monster storm was slated to batter Southern California, authorities issued evacuation orders to save lives in neighborhoods likely to endure flooding and mudslides.

Widespread flooding is expected along with historic levels of rain and dangerous wind gusts. Southern California is under flood watch and wind advisories, and winter weather warnings are in effect in the mountains. The National Weather Service is also warning of the potential for water spouts and small tornadoes, calling the storm a “dangerous system with major risks to life and property.”

Residents are being warned to stay off roads and freeways through Monday morning.

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Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency across Southern California for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The emergency proclamation authorizes a California National Guard response if needed.

As of Sunday morning, parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties were under evacuation orders along with parts of Duarte and Topanga Canyon and La Tuna Canyon in Los Angeles County.

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“Debris flows can bring water, mud, boulders, and other debris that can cover cars and houses. Pack all people and pets into your vehicle and leave the area immediately,” the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The multiple-day storm could drop 3 to 6 inches of rain in coastal and valley areas, and 6 to 12 inches in the mountains, with much of that downpour occurring in a 24- to 36-hour period between Sunday into Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

A flood watch will be in effect from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon for Los Angeles County.

“Given the sheer amounts of rainfall expected in the time period, the 3-6 hour rain rates could be problematic, exceeding USGS thresholds which could lead to mud/debris flow issues as well as swift water rescues in the local rivers and streams,” the NWS said.

Of major concern are the homeless communities and encampments along the flood basins and rivers that will swiftly turn into raging rivers. According to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, fire departments in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties have emergency rescue personnel prepositioned for rescues.

“The Los Angeles River will fill quickly and become a raging river and a very dangerous place to be,” the NWS said earlier. “Anyone in that basin should be removed well before the onset of rain. Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks. Flooding may occur in poor draining and urban areas. Low-water crossings may be flooded. Storm drains and ditches may become clogged with debris. Extensive street flooding and flooding of creeks and rivers are possible.”

The storm comes in the wake of a month that saw unexpected flooding in areas not used to flash flooding. On Thursday, flood water submerged cars in Long Beach and the week before, homes in San Diego were under eight feet of water, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.

Now, the weather service is also predicting a threat of thunderstorms to most areas Sunday through Monday, with the threat lingering over Los Angeles County through Tuesday. Forecasters also cited a threat of waterspouts over coastal waters and even small tornadoes over land.

The heavy rain will be accompanied by strong winds in many areas, blowing at speeds of 30 to 50 mph in parts of LA County, and reaching up to 60 to 80 mph in higher mountain areas and the Golden State (5) Freeway corridor.

A high wind warning was in effect until 6 a.m. Monday for most of Los Angeles County.

A winter storm watch will be in effect in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains through Tuesday afternoon, with forecasters predicting as much as 2 to 4 feet of snow above 7,000 feet, as much as 20 inches as low as 6,000 feet, and 8 inches at 5,000 feet. Winds will also gust in that area at 80 mph.

Officials said downed trees and power lines and power outages were also strong possibilities.

A high surf advisory was issued from 10 p.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday at Orange County beaches, and until 9 p.m. Monday at Los Angeles County beaches.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass is urging Angelenos to stay home on Sunday, and said the city has taken a range of preemptive measures.


In northern parts of Los Angeles and in Duarte which is expected to endure some of the most intense downpours, residents have been ordered to leave their homes until Tuesday. Specifically, residents in the La Tuna Canyon Road area north of Hollywood Burbank Airport were ordered to evacuate until Tuesday due to the high risk of debris flow triggered by the heavy rain.

The affected area borders Horse Haven Street to the north, Martindale Avenue to the east, Penrose Street to the south, and Ledge Avenue to the west, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Evacuation centers for people and household pets have opened at Sunland Senior Citizen Center at 8640 Fenwick St. and Lake View Terrace Recreation Center at 11075 Foothill Blvd. Large animals can be evacuated to Hansen Dam Horse Park at 11127 Orcas Ave. in Lake View Terrace, and the LA Equestrian Center at 480 Riverside Drive in Burbank.

Earlier evacuation orders were issued for the Owen Fire area, on Santa Maria Road from Topanga Canyon, and the Agua Fire area along Soledad Canyon Road east of Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

Those orders are in effect from 6 p.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Additionally, evacuation warnings have been issued for areas of unincorporated Los Angeles County near burn scars from 10 a.m. Sunday through 6 p.m. Tuesday, including the Juniper Hills and Valyermo areas from the Bobcat Fire, and the following areas of Lake Hughes and King Canyon from the Lake Fire:

— 20000 block of Pine Canyon Road;

— 18000 block of Ellstree Drive;

— 46000 block of Kings Canyon Road;

— 18000 block of Newvale Drive;

— 43000 block of Lake Hughes Road.

The city of Duarte also used an evacuation warning for an area in the Fish Fire burn scar. That warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Sunday through 10 a.m. Tuesday for the area on Mel Canyon Road between Fish Canyon Road and Brookridge Road.

Residents can check lafd.org/alerts for updates.

“The city has been working urgently in anticipation of the storm that’s expected to hit us Sunday, Monday and possibly Tuesday,” Bass said during a Friday afternoon news conference. “We know that weather predictions can change quickly, but right now there are indications that the coming storm could be as strong as Tropical Storm Hilary was in August.”
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Carol Parks, general manager of the Emergency Management Department, and L.A. city Fire Chief Kristin Crowley stood beside Bass at the news conference, with Crowley noting the “all-hands-on-deck” efforts underway to prepare the city.

The city and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority have increased shelter and housing voucher availability to accommodate an influx of homeless people coming in from the storm. Extra shelters were expected to be open by Sunday. Residents can call 2-1-1 for transportation to a shelter.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials said they would be in touch with parents if any campuses should need to close.

“Los Angeles Unified teams from across the District have been planning and preparing for this inclement weather system. Schools are equipped with emergency preparedness plans should campuses experience leaks, flooding or wind damage,” the LAUSD said in a statement. “The District is also prepared with alternate plans for impacted areas. We will be in direct contact with families if schools are affected, and the Los Angeles Unified parent hotline is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 213- 443.-300 for families who may have questions or need additional support.”

The coming storm was also affecting the recreational activities available to Southern California residents this weekend. NASCAR bumped up its scheduled Sunday doubleheader at the Coliseum, including the Busch Light Clash, to Saturday night. Six Flags Magic Mountain was closed Sunday. Santa Anita Park canceled Sunday’s eight-race program due to the forecast. And the Getty Center and Villa announced it would be closed Sunday and Monday.

The wet weather pattern will continue into Tuesday evening, with periods of rain anticipated to continue. Drier conditions are expected by Wednesday, but a chance of showers will still linger. Snow levels could fall as low as 3,500 feet by Thursday, forecasters said.

City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.

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