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SoCal Gets Soaked For The Holidays

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Motorists maneuver their way along a rain soaked Interstate Highway 5 in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Nov. 20. 2019. Hail and heavy rain fell as powerful thunderstorms swept into Southern California, flooding roads and snarling rush hour traffic. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel) (Richard Vogel/AP)
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Pablo Cabrera, Emily Henderson, Julia Paskin and Jessica Ogilvie contributed to this report.

You're not the only one traveling this week -- two storms are also coming to town.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie, Monday's rain will subside briefly before Christmas day, then pick up again Wednesday and Thursday. Experts are encouraging travelers to plan around the inclement weather.

"We're hoping that most people that we traveling for Christmas will do so on Tuesday, when the weather will be much better," said Hoxsie.

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Southern Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties are expected to get an average of one to two inches of rain Monday, with some areas seeing up to three inches. Gusty winds are predicted Monday evening, and areas above 5,000 feet elevation could see snow.

"We do have a winter weather advisory for the San Bernardino Mountains," said National Weather Service meteorologist James Brotherton. "We could see somewhere around ten inches of snow in the higher mountains."

On Wednesday and Thursday, up to an inch of rain could hit SoCal, with snow levels sneaking down to 3,500 feet elevation. Experts predict wet driving conditions on the I-5 corridor during that time.

The rain has already affected driving conditions. Floodwaters shut down the westbound on-ramp to the I-34 Freeway at the Burbank Boulevard entrance early this morning, and flooding was reported on the transition road from the eastbound 118 Freeway to the southbound 405.

The Harbor Freeway at Carson Street was also shut down briefly due to flooding, but reopened in time for the morning commute.

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For more than five hours Sunday night, Malibu Canyon Road south of the Malibu Canyon Tunnel was shut down due to a mudslide and rock slide caused by rain. The road has now reopened.

Wet weather poses increased risks for mudslides in all areas that have been burned by recent wildfires.

California Highway Patrol Officer Amber Wright suggested that drivers leave themselves extra time to get where they need to go this week, and plan ahead.

"No matter what time you leave during the day or night, there's always accidents happening and stuff like that," she said.

Wright added that freeways tend to flood on the edges of the road, and advised travelers to be on the lookout for deep water in those lanes.

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"Especially on elevated roadways with walls and half walls, my suggestion would be to make sure you have that high visual horizon and look for flooding and puddling that might occur, commonly in the HOV lane or carpool lane, sometimes in slower lane or the slow lane when you're on the freeway," she said.

CHP will be at maximum enforcement on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.