California storms bring mudslide fears, blizzard warning

Mandatory or voluntary evacuations were ordered in at least five counties in Southern California

Authorities told residents to evacuate hundreds of Southern California homes in areas burned by wildfires as storms brought steady rainfall Tuesday and forced a rare blizzard warning for much of the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe in the northern part of the state.

Mandatory or voluntary evacuations were ordered in at least five counties in Southern California that have been scarred by intense wildfires in recent years, making the areas vulnerable to flooding.

“Please heed disaster messages and prepare to leave immediately,” officials in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles warned residents. “We don’t want anyone in harm’s way.”

Evacuations were mandatory in more than a half dozen areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties affected by last year’s Woolsey Fire. The blaze that broke out in November destroyed more than 1,500 homes and other buildings from Ventura County to Malibu and killed four people.

All schools in Malibu were closed Tuesday.

In Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast, officials told people to flee areas hit by three fires, urging them to “gather family members, pets and essential items.”

A debris flow also could make roads impassable and strand people near evacuation areas, especially in the communities of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, the county warned.

A powerful storm hit Montecito last January, sending water, mud and boulders barrelling down creeks and canyons following a devastating fire that burned and destabilized foothills. Twenty-three people died and more than 100 homes were destroyed.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for mountains in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, forecasting periods of heavy snow and gusty winds that would create dangerous driving conditions.

Meanwhile, a blizzard warning for much of the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe was set to go into effect Wednesday night, with meteorologists predicting as much of 5 feet (1.5 metres) of snow in upper elevations.

Dangerous and potentially life-threatening blizzard conditions were expected at elevations above 7,000 feet (2,133 metres), with high avalanche danger throughout the region.

Weather forecasters have predicted a series of storms that could keep bringing rain and snow through the middle of the week.

The first in the series of storms dumped an inch of rain in Los Angeles and snow in the mountains Monday. Rain closed the Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement parks.

In San Diego County, a 20-foot-long (6-meter-long), 20-foot-deep sinkhole developed on an Interstate 805 off-ramp near Serra Mesa.

A mudslide closed a 4.4-mile (7-kilometre) section of Pacific Coast Highway just north of Malibu on Monday for several hours.

In Encino, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, a 250-foot-long (76-meter) debris flow from a hillside pushed a guest house off its foundation. No one was hurt.

Ice and blowing snow also shut down a major route connecting Los Angeles with San Francisco. Dozens of cars and trucks were stranded for hours before the Grapevine, a high pass on Interstate 5, reopened after nightfall.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Interior Health to host virtual town hall Friday, March 27

The Q&A forum begins at 6 p.m. PDT, link in story

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read