April 20, 2024 5:01 am

Los Angeles County Grapples with a Three-Day Storm, Facing Flash Flood Warnings, Road Closures, and Evacuation Alerts

Steady rain swept across Los Angeles County on Monday as a potent three-day storm system descended upon the region, unleashing a deluge accompanied by a multitude of flash flood warnings. The National Weather Service reported rainfall rates ranging from 0.10 to 0.25 inches per hour in the early hours of Monday, with the Santa Monica Mountains experiencing particularly heavy downpours of nearly half an inch per hour. By Monday morning, these mountains had already accumulated a substantial 3 inches of rainfall. As the storm intensified, treacherous road conditions emerged, with drivers contending with potholes and flooding on roadways throughout Southern California.

Flash flood, mudslide, and evacuation warnings were issued across the region, spanning much of Los Angeles County and extending through Wednesday morning. Reports of rockslides, mudslides, and flooded roads flooded in from Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties, prompting heightened concern among residents and authorities alike. In response to the escalating situation, Los Angeles officials mobilized multiple city departments to close the Sepulveda Basin, prioritizing the safety of pedestrians and motorists.

Evacuation warnings were issued for vulnerable areas, such as Santa Maria Road north of Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Calabasas, where the threat of mud and debris flows loomed large. Additionally, a “phase 2 debris flow forecast” was issued for the Land Fire burn area east of Sun Valley, with moderate flooding and mudflow anticipated in certain areas.

The storm wreaked havoc on road infrastructure, leading to closures and restrictions across various thoroughfares. Benedict Canyon Road and Mulholland Drive were among the affected routes, with portions of each closed off to local access due to collapsing roadways and severe road damage. Furthermore, the Skirball Center Drive/Mulholland Drive off-ramp from the northbound 405 Freeway was shut down indefinitely due to a sinkhole.

In the face of accelerating land movement and erosion concerns in Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn issued a plea for assistance from Governor Gavin Newsom, urging him to visit the affected area and witness the crisis firsthand. With fears heightened by the region’s already saturated terrain from previous storms, comprehensive measures were implemented by Los Angeles city officials to manage the latest onslaught of severe weather. The city’s Emergency Operations Center was activated to monitor impacts and coordinate response efforts, while proactive steps were taken to repair potholes, reinforce vulnerable hillsides, and prevent power outages.

Despite these efforts, the storm continued to wreak havoc, prompting ongoing assessments and interventions to mitigate its impact on communities throughout Southern California. Governor Newsom’s activation of the State Operations Center underscored the severity of the situation, emphasizing the need for a coordinated response to address the multifaceted challenges posed by the storm.

As forecasters predicted continued rainfall and potential thunderstorms, concerns persisted over the risk of flooding, mudslides, and other storm-related hazards. While the storm’s duration and intensity remained uncertain, officials remained vigilant, urging residents to exercise caution and remain prepared for further developments.