MALIBU (CNS) - As another, smaller storm moved in this morning, crews continued clearing away mud on Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, where the weekend's rain caused debris flows that trapped cars and forced the closure of a section of road.
Caltrans officials said PCH would remain shut down in both directions from Las Posas Road in Ventura County to Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu until at least Monday, possibly through Tuesday.
Multiple vehicles became trapped in a mudflow about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at PCH and Mulholland Highway, just outside the Malibu city limits, the CHP reported. Others were stuck at 7:06 p.m. that night in a mixture of water, mud and rocks on PCH north of Tonga Street, 2-3 miles north of the Los Angeles County line.
The roadway havoc was part of the first winter storm of 2019, which moved into the Southland Saturday night before clearing up Sunday.
A second storm, expected to drop rain Sunday night into this morning, should be lighter than the previous one, according to the National Weather Service.
It's all part of a moderate El Nino weather pattern that experts said will continue to bring more precipitation to some regions of the state, with the outlook for the next few months indicating above-average rainfall.
Public safety experts have been concerned that the forecasted rainfall would increase the risk of flooding and mudslides on mountain slopes recently scorched by wildfires. Residents in areas recently burned by wildfires -- where the soil does not absorb a lot of moisture and can be prone to hazardous mudflows that carry dirt, rocks and larger debris -- need to be prepared, experts warned.
Weather forecasts and warnings will not be interrupted by the ongoing federal government shutdown, NWS officials said. Updates will be provided on the agency's website and social media feeds. Los Angeles County residents also can find out more about storm preparation and safety tips at www.lacounty.gov/larain.