SEAL BEACH, CA — A winter storm brought steady rain to the Southland overnight, making for a wet morning commute Wednesday, dropping snow in the mountains and causing a mudslide in Orange County that prompted evacuation orders. The storm is not yet finished, according to the National Weather Service.
Dana Point was under beach advisory starting Wednesday.
Officials said bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards from city streets and mountain areas are likely to contaminate ocean waters at and around, discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers after a rainfall. People who enter the water in these areas could become ill.
Beach advisories were in place along the Orange County coastline, from Seal Beach to San Clemente, until 2 a.m. Saturday and could be extended depending on further rainfall.
The storm, expected to continue as late as Friday, caused major debris flows in the Bond Fire burn scar in Santiago Canyon. The storm also caused minor flooding in southern Los Angeles County, with some minor mud and debris, flows possible across the southern portion of the Bobcat and Ranch2 burn areas in the Angeles National Forest. Officials also warned of possible power outages.
At about 7 a.m., a mudslide cascaded onto Silverado Canyon Road in Orange County, leaving four people trapped inside their homes, later rescued by Orange County Fire Authority firefighters.
Fear of more rain prompting additional mudslides, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for Silverado Canyon, Modjeska, and Williams canyons.
“Public works are out there working with the (Orange County Fire Authority) to remove the debris, and that’s going to take at least a couple of hours to make the roads passable,” Braun said at about 10:30 a.m. “There are also some mudslides on private property, so we’re looking into reports of that.”
The storm system dropped nearly three-quarters of inches of rain in Culver City and more than a half-inch in downtown Los Angeles, Hawthorne, and Los Angeles International Airport, according to the NWS. Most valley areas received between a third- and half-inch of rain overnight, while snow fell in some mountain areas, including 5 inches on Mount Wilson.
Skies cleared in many areas by mid-morning, but forecasters warned that the storm wasn’t yet finished.
“Most areas should see additional rain today, but it certainly will not rain all day, with plenty of breaks in the rain and even the clouds,” according to the NWS.
A slight chance of thunderstorms will continue through the day, and snow fell at levels down to 2,500 feet.
A winter storm warning will be in effect until 10 p.m. Thursday for the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica range, with the NWS anticipating snow of 6 to 12 inches above 4,500 feet, down to a dusting for elevations around 3,000 feet. The snowy conditions will be joined by southwest winds of 20 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph.
Forecasters warned that conditions would make driving hazardous in the county’s northern reaches, with the Golden State (5) and Antelope Valley (14) freeways most affected.
“A cold storm system will bring rain and low elevation snow to the region … through Thursday evening, potentially causing significant mountain travel issues including Interstate 5,” according to the NWS. “There will be a slight chance of thunderstorms, especially Wednesday through Thursday. It will be breezy to windy at times and very cool.”
The rain could persist into Friday, the NWS said. Dry weather is expected to return by Friday night and continue through the weekend.
The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management urged residents to be prepared for possible power outages and be careful on the roads.
“Rainfall has finally arrived once again in L.A. County, and residents should practice rain safety tips during morning commutes and be prepared for power outages if they should occur, especially since many individuals are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kevin McGowan, director of the county office.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority announced that weather-activated shelters would be open from 5 p.m. Tuesday until 7 a.m. Friday at Loma Alta Park in Altadena; Glassell Park Recreation Center; Mary Bethune, Enterprise and Leon Washington parks in South Los Angeles; and Alondra Park in Torrance.
Information about shelters is available by calling 211 or 800-548-6047.
City News Service contributed to this report.