Evacuations ordered for homes near fireburned areas

Big Tujunga Canyon resident Rhonda Keermann views the area where several feet of mud has blocked Big Tujunga Canyon Road, preventing her from leaving, in the Tujunga area of Los Angeles Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. A skiploader later cleared an area for her to pass. Several inches of rain have fallen and more rain is predicted as a series of storms move through California.
Big Tujunga Canyon resident Rhonda Keermann views the area where several feet of mud has blocked Big Tujunga Canyon Road, preventing her from leaving, in the Tujunga area of Los Angeles Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. A skiploader later cleared an area for her to pass. Several inches of rain have fallen and more rain is predicted as a series of storms move through California.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Residents of about 500 homes in flood-prone areas of Los Angeles County are preparing for mandatory evacuations to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, in advance of another storm that is expected to bear down on Southern California. More risk of flash flooding and debris flows in areas denuded by wildfires are expected as a series of four storms rolls through the Southland. Another potentially more powerful storm will likely bring heavy snow to the mountains above 5,000 feet Wednesday through Thursday with snow levels lowering to 4,000 feet Thursday evening.

Updated at 9:31 p.m. | Permalink Evacuation center opening 8 a.m. at Sunland Recreational Center L.A. evacuation center will be open at 8 a.m. at Sunland Recreational Center, 8651 Foothill Blvd. in Sunland, according to the LAPD. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for 9 a.m. Wednesday for 489 homes in La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton and Glendale. Residents were told to prepare to remain out of their homes until Monday, if necessary. Evacuations were also ordered for Alpine Village, Seven Hills, Blanchard Canyon Road, Tujunga and Riverwood in the foothill area of Southern Tujunga. Homes on Blanchard Canyon Road, Haines Canyon Avenue, Riverwood Drive near Big Tunjunga Canyon are being evacuated. San Fernando Valley displaced small animals can be dropped off at the Northeast Animal Shelter, 15321 Brand Blvd. in Mission Hills. Large animals should be taken to Pierce College at 6201 Winnetka Ave. in Woodland Hills. Information is available by calling (818) 347-0551. -KPCC staff Updated at 9:19 p.m. | Permalink Evacuations begin for Tujunga homes Police officers and firefighters are going door-to-door in the Tujunga neighborhood of Los Angeles, asking residents of about 200 hillside homes to evacuate by morning. City and county officials warned Tuesday that significant rainfall on already saturated soil could cause mudslides and debris flows, especially below the steep slopes that burned last year. Evacuations in La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and parts of Glendale will begin Wednesday morning. Officials hope to have everyone out of danger by the time the third storm in as many days hits Southern California. County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman is urging residents to heed evacuations orders. -The Associated Press Updated at 8:35 p.m. | Permalink SCE crews continue work to restore power to homes As of 5:30 p.m., Southern California Edison crews were working to restore power to 17,591 customers, down from 28,288 customers in several counties. The hardest-hit areas included Moreno Valley in Riverside County, with 2,640 customers without power; Garden Grove with 2,834 and Huntington Beach with 1,971 customers. In Corona, 871 customers were without power at 5:30 p.m., compared to 2,000 customers earlier. L.A. Department of Water and Power officials reported late this afternoon that about 5,000 customers were without power, with homes in the San Fernando Valley the hardest hit. -KPCC Wire Services Updated at 6:58 p.m. | Permalink City officials to make reverse 911 calls Wednesday morning to evacuate residents City officials announced that residents who are threatened by potential mudslides in La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton and parts of Glendale will be given a 15-hour head start to evacuate. During a press conference tonight at Fire Station 2 in La Canada Flintridge, authorities said residents of those areas can expect reverse 911 calls starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday. They had initially planned to begin evacuations at 5 p.m., but reconsidered in light of the expected severity of Wednesday's storm. City fire officials hope to have the homes evacuated by 1 p.m., adding that residents who wait too long run the risk off having access out of the area cut off by debris flows once the downpour starts. La Canada High School is the official shelter for families and small animals. In the Antelope Valley, Castaic Animal Control plans to take larger animals. Residents were urged to go the L.A. County Department of Public Works' Coordinated Agency Recovery Effort (C.A.R.E.) Web site for more information regarding areas under evacuation. -Patricia Nazario Updated at 5:56 p.m. | Permalink Authorities to begin evacuations of mudslide-threatened foothill communities at 9 a.m. Public safety agencies plan to start evacuating 587 homes in hillside communities at 9 a.m. Wednesday instead of 5 p.m. in anticipation of an approaching storm. County firefighters hope to have the homes in La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton and parts of Glendale evacuated by 1 p.m., Capt. Mark Savage said. In Long Beach, 1.43 inches of rain fell, setting a record for the date. The old record, set in 1969, was 1.39 inches. On Monday, a little more of inch fell downtown and more than 3 inches fell in the mountains. -KPCC Wire Services Updated at 5:49 p.m. | Permalink LA DWP reports power outages in San Fernando Valley Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials reported that about 5,000 customers were without power. The utility reported that the San Fernando Valley was hardest hit by the outages. -KPCC Wire Services Updated at 5:35 p.m. | Permalink Hillsides burnt in 2008 Freeway Complex Fire holding up in storms Yorba Linda is not planning widespread evacuations ahead of the biggest of the storms to hit Southern California this week. The city’s hillsides burned more than a year ago in the Freeway Complex Fire. Yorba Linda city spokesman Mark Aalders says during last winter’s rains, many people didn’t heed evacuation orders - so authorities have switched to a different plan. "In this case, it would be more of an individual-type evacuation. So for instance, you know, if there was a hillside that did seemingly look like it was going to come down, we would evacuate that group of homes. It would not be in the blanket fashion that we did after the fires" Aalders says. Aalders says the biggest danger comes when the ground is saturated. That’s when more rainfall can trigger landslides. Crews are out keeping an eye on those hillsides. Aalders says it’s tricky at night because it’s harder to see potential problems. He says it’s good to stay aware of your surroundings if you live in those high-danger areas. -Susan Valot Updated at 5:23 p.m. | Permalink Utility crews out in force trying to restore electrical service Utility crews were working to restore electrical service interrupted by the storm throughout Southern California. As of 3 p.m., Southern California Edison crews were working to restore power to 28,288 customers in several counties, up from 14,328 customers who lost power around midday. SCE serves communities within a 50,000-square-mile service area. The hardest-hit areas included Moreno Valley in Riverside County, with 5,500 customers in the dark; and the Orange County cities of Garden Grove and Huntington Beach, with 4,000 and 3,100 customers, respectively, without power. Almost 2,000 customers lost electricity in Corona;1,200 customers were without power in Rancho Palos Verdes; and 1,041 were affected in Torrance, said Charles Coleman of SCE. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials could not be reached to comment about how many customers, if any, were without power in the city limits. -KPCC Wire Services Updated at 5:13 p.m. | Permalink LA County activates Emergency Operations Center Authorities have announced that the Los Angeles County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) has been activated. The CEOC will directly support County and local departments, agencies and community organizations responding to winter storm activity. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Operations Center is also activated. The County’s CEOC will remain activated until further notice. -KPCC staff Updated at 5:05 p.m. | Permalink Quail Canyon Road homeowners fighting to protect their homes. A few miles from La Canada, Glendale homeowners on Quail Canyon Road are nervously watching the rain. The block’s two-story houses abut the hillside. Fire crews camped out there during the Station Fire last August. The wildfire charred the hillside charred, but homeowner Steve Voleti said he didn’t expect debris to clog his backyard pool months later. “I stayed home,” said Voleti, adding “…and I wasn’t expecting this to happen, but like within five minutes the mud slides started coming down pretty fast. I was really to leave the house, because I had a meeting. But I cancelled the meeting and I stayed home.” Voleti says this is his worst winter since he moved into the house a dozen years ago. He hired a couple of men to dig debris out of a storm drain that runs through his backyard. He wanted to clear the passage before more rain rolls in. Neighbors are also concerned about a couple of debris basins at the top of Quail Canyon Road. They say Monday’s rains filled each with about 10 feet of soot, twigs and debris. Homeowners worry that a weeklong rainstorm will overflow the basins and overrun their yards and homes with soot. -Patricia Nazario Updated at 4:09 p.m. | Permalink Coastal areas of Sunset Beach are concern for officials Coastal, low-lying areas such as Sunset Beach are a source of concern for Orange County officials. A few feet from the eroding beach, OC Parks ranger Bill Reiter talked about the source of concern. "Some very heavy surf, breaking up, it’s starting to knock down, take some of the beach with it, with a little bit of a two food drop off in the sand here, right now, we’re probably looking at about eight foot swells and it’s supposed to get bigger according to the weather forecast." Read more. - Adolfo Guzman-Lopez Updated at 3:15 p.m. | Permalink Boys rescued from rain-swollen flood control channel in Pomona Two boys, ages 10 and 12, had to be rescued this afternoon in the San Antonio flood control channel at East Grand Avenue and Southeast End Avenue in Pomona. Just before 3 p.m., a helicopter hovered downstream in case firefighters were not able to pull the boys out of the 2-foot-deep, fast-moving water and they were swept further downstream. Inspector Matt Levesque said the boys were checked out by paramedics after they were rescued by firefighters, who lowered a ladder into the wash to reach the youngsters, who were in the water for as long as half an hour. "They were ambulatory and appeared to be OK,'' he said. Levesque said he didn't know how the boys got stranded in the wash. - KPCC Wire Services Updated at 2:56 p.m. | Permalink Dozen adults, 4 children in San Pedro displaced from home Officials have evacuated 12 adults and four children from homes in the San Pedro area. An evacuation center has been set up at a senior center at 828 S. Mesa St. – KPCC Wire Services Latest | Permalink Flooding reported in San Pedro Flooding has been reported in the 500 block of West Fifth Street in San Pedro, with several feet of water in some homes and businesses, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. No injuries have been reported. Updated at 1:24 p.m. | Permalink Tornado warning issued for Orange County as thunderstorms roll in A tornado warning was issued for Orange County today as thunderstorms rolled into the area. The tornado warning is in effect until 1:30 p.m. for Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Anaheim and Costa Mesa, according to the National Weather Service. Radar showed squall lines moving across the Palos Verdes Peninsula and into central Orange County. National Weather Service Meteorologist Tina Stall said the afternoon forecast "looks fairly nasty." Water spouts are possible across the ocean and, if they come ashore, they become tornadoes. The next wave of the storm is expected to be the most damaging. "Let me find some wood, knock on wood," joked Terry Belanger, Seal Beach's interim public works director. "The first rains [Monday] pretty much flushed the streets and there were no serious problems. It was pretty routine actually. But we're told the weather activity later this week is going to be more severe, especially by the ocean, so we're gearing up for the anticipated storms Thursday and Friday." Like most coastal towns with residences along the ocean, Seal Beach is shoring up its berms. "Between now and [Thursday] we're going to be prepared as we can be. Seal Beach puts in a sand berm on its eastern beach to keep tidal water out of the residences that front the beach," Belanger said. "We've had a couple of situations where the water got behind the berm, but that's because it's not closed off at both ends, But we've had no damage to property and we've been able to handle the water behind the berm with pumps." Seal Beach will have water pumps and extra sandbags ready to keep the water away from the homes, Belanger said. He described the ocean now as "a great big washing machine." Newport Beach's waves were only about 3 feet high today, but the wind is picking up and lifeguards expect some bigger sets today, said Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Jim Turner. "We've got 38 or 39 mph winds right now," he said about noon. "Yesterday the winds were pretty steady at 40 to 45 mph." The waves got up to about 12 feet at 4-second intervals Monday, Turner said. Over in Corona Del Mar, where they were better protected by the wind, surfers "had great rides," Turner added. The lifeguards will have at least one or two units patrolling the beaches through the rest of the week and they plan to move their towers back because of beach erosion, Turner said. "Our biggest concern is we're trying to keep our facility from leaking too much, like most residents of Southern California," Turner said, laughing. Today's storm should be "a lesser version of yesterday, but there's a greater chance of possible thunderstorms today," said National Weather Service meteorologist Tina Stall. "The rest of the storm should be light to moderate showers and heavier at times," she said. The winds won't pick up as much as Monday when gusts wreaked havoc knocking down trees. "There's always a possibility of water spouts when you have a thunderstorm" along the coast, Stall said, but the rain should be "uniform" for the area. Orange County, which is under a flood watch until 6 p.m., so far has seen about an average of one to two inches of rain. John Wayne Airport measured 2.05 inches of rain so far this week while Huntington Beach saw about 1.07 inches of rain. The rain should taper off by Friday "and it shouldn't be that bad of a weekend," Stall said. – KPCC Wire Services Updated at 1:14 p.m. | Permalink Possible tornado moves past South Bay into Orange County Based on radar, the South Bay is safe from a potential tornado. However, the severe cell is moving into Orange County instead. – Susan Valot Updated at 1:02 p.m. | Permalink Tornado warning issued for Orange County Another tornado warning has been issued for Orange County, including Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Irvine, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Garden Grove, and Westminster until 1:30 p.m. In addition to the tornado, this storm is capable of producing hail up to one inch and destructive straight line winds. At 12:37 p.m., National Weather Service Doppler Radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 17 miles southwest of Huntington Beach, moving northeast at 30 miles per hour. A tornado may already be on the ground or could develop shortly. The potential tornado is expected to be near Huntington Beach by 1:10, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Westminster and Garden Grove by 1:20, Santa Ana by 1:25, and Tustin, the Tustin Foothills, Orange and 6 miles northwest of Irvine by 1:30 p.m. If you are caught outside in a tornado, the National Weather Service recommends seeking shelter in a nearby reinforced building or, as a last resort, seeking shelter in a culvert, ditch or low spot and covering your head with your hands. Updated at 12:48 p.m. | Permalink Tornado warning A tornado warning has been issued for south central Los Angeles County, including the city of Long Beach, until 1:15 p.m. At 12:32 p.m., National Weather Service Doppler Radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 16 miles southwest of Long Beach, moving northeast at 35 miles per hour. Whittier is also in the affected area. Updated at 12:41 p.m. | Permalink Lightning, thunder in South Bay Yorba Linda Assistant City Manager Mark Aalders says no damage or reports of problems there, so far. That's the area where the Freeway Complex Fire burned in November 2008. He says crews are on hand to make sure storm drains don't get clogged up. He says sandbags are available to residents. Aalders says they're not too worried about this storm at this point, but are more concerned about the storm expected Wednesday into Thursday because the previous rain will have soaked in by then. - Susan Valot Updated at 12:09 p.m. | Permalink 8-foot waves in Sunset Beach Download
At Orange County's Sunset Beach, KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez reports eight-foot waves are eroding the beach, with the waves continuing to get better as of noon. Trucks were driving through, moving trash cans 50 feet back to protect them from the storm. Multimillion-dollar homes sit just 70 yards from where the waves are crashing. The area seems to get flooded each year, but community activists aren't that worried about flooding on the Pacific Coast Highway, as the high tide isn't supposed to be that severe. Authorities are encouraging people to prepare, and sandbags and sand are available.

Updated at 12:04 p.m. | Permalink A flash-flood watch was in effect for the coast, the valley and mountain areas below 6,500 feet for late morning through early evening as the second in a series of Pacific storms brings heavy rain.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. | Permalink The following are snow totals from Monday night through Tuesday morning: Mt. Baldy = 6 - 12 inches Mt. Pinos = 6 - 12 inches Wrightwood = 3 inches

Earlier | Permalink Today's storm will not be as powerful as Monday's, but it will still produce an additional one or two inches of rain, creating more runoff into streams and rivers, according to the National Weather Service. At times, today's rains may be intense -- a half-inch to three quarters of an inch per hour in some areas, and an inch per hour where thunderstorms appear. ``Rainfall at these rates may cause flash flooding and debris flows in and below the recent burn areas, especially given the amount of rain that fell on Monday,'' when the ground became ``nearly saturated,'' according to NWS advisories. A flash flood watch -- indicating the potential for conditions that could trigger flash flooding -- was issued by the NWS early this morning and scheduled to remain in effect through this evening in areas of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties afflicted by wildfires in 2008 and last year. In Los Angeles County, those areas include the sites of the Station and Morris fires. Today's storm is expected to manifest itself in the Greater L.A. area by mid-morning, bringing showers and thunderstorms, said NWS meteorologist Curt Kaplan. In the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties -- except for the Santa Monica range -- today's storm is expected to bring between four and eight inches of snow above the 5,500-foot level, NWS forecasters said. A winter weather advisory will be in effect in the mountains from 10 this morning until 3 a.m. Wednesday, according to the NWS. Also expected in mountain areas today are south-to-southwest winds gusting at more than 50 miles per hour at times, according to the NWS. The snow was expected to start falling across the mountains of Ventura County between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., then spread into Los Angeles County later in the morning, they said. The storm could produce thunderstorms, which would increase snow accumulation to a foot in some areas, but the snowfall is expected to diminish this evening and end overnight. The first of this week's four expected storms came Monday, moving across the region fairly rapidly. The others are expected today, Wednesday and Thursday. ``These systems are moving rapidly across the Pacific Ocean, powered by a 200-mile-per-hour jet stream, which will pick up moisture along the way into Southern California,'' according to an NWS advisory. ``The main impacts will be intense rainfall, with the potential for debris flows near the recent burn areas and damaging winds through the end of the week.'' The strongest of this week's storms is expected Wednesday afternoon into Thursday, according to the NWS. ``This system will bring an additional 1-3 inches of rain for the coasts and valleys, with 3-5 inches for the mountains, with locally higher amounts due to upslope winds,'' an advisory said. ``The potential for significant debris flow activity near the recent burn areas exists with this system...'' Isolated thunderstorms likely will enhance the intensity of Wednesday's rainfall, it said. At the same time, according to an NWS advisory, ``strong and potentially damaging winds will be felt across the entire region Wednesday and Thursday. Heavy snow accumulations will be possible mainly above 5,000 feet. However, snow levels will likely lower to 4,000 feet later in the week.'' Snow accumulation resulting from Wednesday's storm is expected to be between two and four feet above the 6,000-foot level. A winter storm watch -- indicating the potential for heavy snow, strong winds and dense fog -- will be in effect in mountain areas from Wednesday morning until late Thursday night. Rainfall totals for the entire week are expected to range from four to eight inches in coastal and valley areas and between eight and 16 inches in the foothills and mountains, an NWS advisory said, adding that ``This will likely be the wettest week since early 2005.'' Through 4 a.m. today, several areas of the Southland received more than two inches of rain, according to the NWS. The most rain -- 4.99 inches -- fell in the Opids Camp section of the San Gabriel Mountains. In the San Gabriel Valley ... Eaton Dam received 3.11 inches while in the San Fernando Valley, 2.88 inches were recorded at Sepulveda Canyon. In metropolitan Los Angeles, the wettest spot was the area around the Bel Air Hotel, with 2.29 inches. With large swells and heavy surf accompanying the storms, both the NWS and U.S. Coast Guard urged boaters to stay in harbor this week. Monday's storm left the region relatively unscathed -- but not without extensive disruptions. In La Canada Flintridge, one of the hillside communities where hillsides were stripped of vegetation in last fall's Station Fire, a catch basin filled up by about 1:30 p.m. Monday, prompting an evacuation order for 64 homes in the Paradise Valley area. The rain let up about 3 p.m., and county firefighters decided to let those residents go home. About eight dozen residences were also ordered evacuated at the mouths of several canyons in the northeast San Fernando Valley due to an afternoon deluge, but most were allowed to go home several hours later. Those 83 homes were in the neighborhoods of Riverwood Ranch, Alpine Village, Zachau Canyon, Haines Canyon and Blanchard Canyon. The weather also triggered power outages. Southern California Edison reported this morning that its crews were working to restore power to 8,850 customers in various communities including Manhattan Beach, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena and Palos Verdes, said SCE's Vanessa McGrady. Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Maychelle Yee said the utility's crews were doing the same this morning for about 1,400 customers in various areas of Los Angeles, including about 450 in Chatsworth and 550 in Knollwood. Temperatures, meanwhile, were expected to be on the chilly side for Southern California today, though not particularly low. The NWS forecast highs of 41 on Mount Wilson; 55 in Newhall and Lancaster; 56 in Palmdale; 58 in Woodland Hills; 59 in Pasadena, Burbank and San Gabriel; 60 in Avalon; 61 at LAX; and 62 in Long Beach and downtown L.A. Over the coming days, temperatures will tumble precipitously -- with highs Friday of only 26 on Mount Wilson and 51 in downtown L.A. -- before beginning to climb back up on Saturday, according to an NWS forecast.