Traffic slogs along the I-5 freeway southbound at the Newhall pass Tuesday as the season’s first major rain storm hit the area. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

The biggest storm of the Southland’s rainy season is likely to produce 1 to 3 inches of rain in the L.A. County coastal and valley areas, and between 2 and 5 inches in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service. Severe rain and flooding has been reported from Los Angeles to Burbank, Sun Valley to Ventura and beyond.

Meteorologist Curt Kaplan said rainfall expectations for L.A. County have been scaled down slightly since Tuesday, but Ventura and Santa Barbara counties will probably see 2 to 5 inches of rain in coastal and valley areas and between 5 and 10 inches across the foothills and coastal slopes.

It’s good news for the drought-plagued Los Angeles basin; and terrible news for folks in parts of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, who experienced wildfires in January, and whose homes are now vulnerable. With much of the natural foliage consumed in fires, there’s nothing to protect affected areas from mudslides when storms arrive.

Voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders went into effect in portions of Los Angeles County Wednesday amid fears of mudslides and torrents of debris down fire-denuded slopes. Flash flood warnings also went into effect from Wednesday through late Thursday night. Warnings will apply not only the burn areas of Los Angeles County but in urban areas as well. Affected regions include metropolitan Los Angeles, downtown, the Hollywood Hills, the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains; the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys; and both coastal and inland Orange County.

“In addition to the flash flooding and mud and debris flow risk in recent burn areas, there will be other flooding threats in non-burn areas due to the long duration and intensity of this storm,” according to an NWS statement.

“Widespread urban roadway flooding is possible as well as rockslides and mudslides, especially near canyon roadways. As a result, there could be significant travel delays and road closures across the region between Tuesday and Thursday night.”
Motorists are advised to check road and weather conditions. Visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/roadclosures/ for road closure updates.

 

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