LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Southland will again be doused today, with rainfall ramping up in the late morning and early afternoon and the heaviest rainfall forecast for late tonight and into Thursday, strengthened by an atmospheric river suffused with moisture.
Scattered showers are expected during the morning commute but will begin increasing in intensity as the day rolls on, according to National Weather Service Meteorolgist Kathy Hoxsie.
The storm is being pushed by an atmospheric river, which Hoxsie described as a moisture-packing air mass. This storm, she said, has “more moisture than others.”
Between 1.5 to 2 inches of rain was forecast for the Malibu area, enough to cause mud or debris flows, Hoxsie said. The rain, however, is expected to fall over a longer period of time Wednesday, slightly reducing the chances of mud or debris flows, she said.
Several parts of Malibu impacted by November's Woolsey Fire, which stripped many hillsides bare, are already under mandatory evacuation orders.
The orders were issued for specific properties adjacent to steep slopes or at the base of drainages in the following Woolsey Fire burn areas:
-- Corral Canyon/El Nido;
-- Escondido/Old Chimney;
-- Escondido Drive/Latigo Canyon;
-- Malibu West/Trancas Canyon;
-- Malibu Lake;
-- all of Ramirez Canyon Road and adjacent streets; and the
-- Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park and Restaurant.
County officials said 225 homes were affected by the orders, but other residents should prepare supplies and be ready to evacuate when ordered.
“Authorities warn that all residents who live in or near the Woolsey Fire burn area should remain aware of their surroundings and weather conditions during these storms. Even small amounts of rainfall rates may result in significant mud and debris flow, so we strongly encourage residents who live in or near Woolsey Fire burn areas to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice,” Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Darren Harris said in a statement.
An estimated 500 homes in the Creek Fire burn area -- including Kagel, Little Tujunga and Lopez canyons -- were warned to be prepared to evacuate. Officials said some homeowners whose properties are in particular peril have been alerted and should not wait until a mandatory evacuation order is issued to leave the area. As of 3 a.m. today, no mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Creek Fire burn area, according to the sheriff's department.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger told residents who might be worried about looting and hesitant to leave that patrols were already in place in both the Woolsey and Creek fire burn areas.
“We will do everything we can to protect your property,” Barger said, who also urged canyon residents with animals to move them out now to avoid the risk of having to abandon them later. “The lesson learned (at Kagel Canyon) is there is only one way in and out.”
Evacuation centers were open to serve residents from the Woolsey Fire area at Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Agoura; and Santa Monica High School-South Gym, 601 Pico Blvd. For more information, contact the American Red Cross at (800) RED CROSS. Anyone who feels unsafe should call 911.
All Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District schools in Malibu will be closed today. The schools are Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, Point Dume Marine Science School, Webster Elementary School and Malibu Middle/High School. The district's preschool in Malibu and the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu also will be closed, the district says.
If a mandatory evacuation order is issued for Kagel, Little Tujunga and Lopez canyons, an evacuation center will be opened in Sylmar. Updated information is available at www.lacounty.gov/larain.
Evacuation centers for large animals were opened at Pierce College, 6201 Winnetka Ave., in Woodland Hills; and the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, 11127 Orcas Ave., in Lakeview Terrace. Small animals, including those with special medical needs, are being accepted at every county-operated animal shelter, as well as the animal safe trailer at 27040 Malibu Hills Road in Agoura.
Snow levels in the mountains are predicted above 6500 feet, likely not affecting the Grapevine, Hoxsie said.
In Orange County, scattered light showers are expected throughout the morning and early afternoon, with heavier rainfall arriving late today, NWS meteorologist Jimmy Taeger said. Thursday will bring the heaviest rain before giving way to drier conditions on Friday.
A flash flood watch remains in effect through Thursday afternoon, according to the NWS.
A strong storm cell moved through Orange County Wednesday night, dramatically increasing the amount of rainfall in the region. An inch-and-a- half or more of rain fell in parts of Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Anaheim Hills and two-inches of rain or more fell in Garden Grove, parts of Anaheim and Huntington Beach and 3.5 inches of rain was reported in Seal Beach, the NWS said.
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