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Climate and Environment

Evacuations And Closures: How The Storm Is Rattling SoCal

A rush of rain rolls down a pathway by a freeway with cars driving on it.
The Arroyo Seco rushes and overflows in the Highland Park neighborhood thanks to heavy rains in December 2021.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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Southern California has been drenched by this latest storm.

The downpour has prompted evacuations and road closures. Here’s the latest you need to know to drive safely.

Floods Warnings To Evacuations

The Los Angeles County coast has received 1 to 4 inches of rain during this latest storm, with Malibu getting 3 to 4 inches. The San Gabriel Mountains have seen more than 7 inches.

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There's a flood advisory in place for L.A. County that's been extended until 3 p.m. Thursday and a flash flood watch for the Lake, Bobcat, Dam, and Ranch 2 burn scars until 4 pm.

Orange County had a mandatory evacuation order for Silverado, Williams and Modjeska Canyons in the Bond Fire burn area due to possible debris flows, but the order is no longer in effect as of 1 p.m. Road closures in the area have also been lifted.

In San Bernardino County, an evacuation warning is in place until 3 p.m. Friday for parts of Yucaipa that were affected by last year's El Dorado Fire.

Closures And Rescues

Pacific Coast Highway has had multiple closures because of weather conditions and debris. Caltrans closed PCH in both directions at Puerco Canyon Road in Malibu due to a mudslide as of 11:57 a.m.

The northbound side of PCH in Santa Monica closed as of 9:25 a.m. due to a mudslide at the Santa Monica Bluffs and Ocean Avenue onramp, according to Caltrans. While the city worked to clear the blockage, cars were removed starting at the Lincoln Boulevard exit on the I-10 West.

Malibu has asked residents to avoid driving in the storm conditions.

Decker Road at PCH closed as of 8:50 a.m due to multiple rockslides, according to the city, while Caltrans works to clear it. Downed trees and street flooding in parts of the city, including Civic Center Way and Stuart Ranch Road. Over on Malibu Canyon Road, a large mudslide is blocking the southbound lane. Crews will begin clearing debris once the heavy rain passes.

Mud and rocks are coming down in the Santa Monica Mountains — prompting L.A. County Public Works to close Mulholland Highway between Las Virgenes and Cornell Roads in Calabasas. Crews will begin cleanup once the weather subsides.

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The L.A. County and Ventura County fire departments responded to flooding at Leo Carrillo State Beach. More than 50 people have been rescued, according to the L.A. County Fire Department

The mountains are getting a lot of snow. Interstate 5 over the Grapevine is closed in both directions as of 6 a.m. between Lebec and State Route 138. The California Highway Patrol says freeway lanes are closed due to heavy snow over the summit and will reopen once the weather subsides. An alternate route would be through Tehachapi on State Route 58.

Wednesday night, Caltrans closed Angeles Crest Highway from State Route 39 to Big Pines Highway because of snow and landslides.

Weekend Weather

National Weather Service meteorologist Kristan Lund says to expect 2 to 4 more inches at the coast and in the San Gabriel Valley, and one to two more inches in the rest of L.A.

“The rain will be heaviest this morning and then it will kind of turn showery in the afternoon to evening and by the late evening it should drop off pretty drastically and noticeably,” Lund said

The good news is that we should expect clear weather for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, but it will stay chilly. Temperatures will be colder than usual, reaching into the 40s and 50s.

Driving Tips

Officials are cautioning drivers to take extra care on wet and snowy roads. It's recommended to carry snow chains if you plan to drive near snowy areas and to turn around if you approach a flood.

Keep wiper blades in good condition, or replace them, to see stormy roads clearly. It's safest to slow down in foggy areas and to use your standard lights (and fog lights if your car is equipped with them). More tips can be found in Caltrans's Weathering The Storm guide.

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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