Mountain rain and snow kick off LA County New Years weekend

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LOS ANGELES, CA – Mudslides, debris flows and flooding were the stories of the day Thursday after heavy rains hit the south overnight.

Flash flood monitoring remained in effect in southern California, including Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, the San Bernadino County Mountains, the Santa Ana Mountains and the foothills. Rain of 1 inch to 2.5 inches was expected in the mountains and foothills, with heavy snowfall expected at over 5,000 feet.

Flash flood monitoring will continue through Thursday afternoon for areas burned in Los Angeles County by the Lake, Bobcat, Dam and Ranch 2 fires.

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Forecasters said areas could experience “several hours of moderate to heavy rain … which could lead to flash floods and debris flows.”

Across Southland, a messy morning drive was thankfully light due to the upcoming New Years holiday weekend.

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Read: Dangerous road conditions throughout Malibu, avoid driving


Showers along the coast continued throughout the morning, although the rain is expected to subside in the afternoon, giving way to a dry but cool weekend.

A winter storm warning would remain in effect until 8 p.m. for the mountains of Los Angeles County, excluding the Santa Monica Range.

The National Weather Service said 1-3 feet of snow would accumulate above 5,000 feet, with “light snow” falling at lower elevations. Winds were also gusty in the area, with the NWS indicating that sustained winds of 45 to 50 mph were expected, with higher altitude gusts reaching 60 mph.

“Travel could be very difficult, if not impossible,” according to the NWS.

Sections of the Angeles Crest Freeway were closed due to poor weather conditions and National Highway 39.

Caltrans reminded motorists that chains are required on the Angeles Crest Freeway north of La Canada Flintridge. The agency urged motorists to be aware of road conditions and to anticipate possible closures due to snow.

Wind gusts also affected the Antelope Valley. The NWS issued a wind advisory until 10 p.m.

According to the NWS, 2-4 inches of rain could fall in coastal areas and valleys in LA County as the storm moves, with 3-7 inches falling in the mountains.

“By (Thursday), more regular rainfall is expected to persist over LA County for at least the morning hours and then become more showers in the afternoon,” according to the NWS.

Forecasters said there would be a risk of thunderstorms.

Temperatures will also remain “significantly below average” across the region, according to the NWS.

In Orange County, a mandatory evacuation order was downgraded to a voluntary evacuation warning in Silverado, Williams and Modjeska Canyons starting at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Soft road closures were expected at the entrances to the canyon, and many roads were only open to residents, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.

The NWS has issued flash flood watch for coastal and inland areas of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains, including the Bond Fire burn area. Flash flood watch will be in effect until Thursday afternoon, although the evacuation warning has been downgraded to evacuation watch from 10 a.m.
“Excessive runoff can lead to flooding of rivers, streams, streams and other low elevation and flood prone locations,” according to the NWS.

“Flooding can occur in urban areas and poor drainage areas. Flash floods and debris flows are possible, especially near scars from recent burns.”

NWS forecasters for Orange County said the area could receive up to 2.5 inches of rain along the coast and up to 6 inches in the mountains below 5,000 feet.

An hourly amount of precipitation of 0.6 to 0.7 inches was possible.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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