LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The last and strongest of three storms to hit Southern California this week will reach the region today, generating periods of heavy rain, which could trigger shallow mud and debris flows in several areas previously denuded by wildfires, National Weather Service forecasters said.
The rain could unleash mudslides and debris flows “in and near recent burn scars across Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties. These include the Hill, Sherpa, South, Stone, Thomas, Whittier and Woolsey burn scars,” according to an NWS statement.
In L.A. County, a flash flood watch will be in force until 1 p.m. along the coast, in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area, the San Gabriel Mountains, the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, beach cities, Long Beach, Beverly Hills and Hollywood. In all, it covers the Woolsey, Hill, South, and Stone burn scars in Los Angeles and eastern Ventura Counties, the NWS said.
Forecasters say they expect peak rainfall rates of between a half-inch and three quarters od an inch of rain per hour in the watch zone.
“Rainfall of this intensity can produce shallow mud and debris flows in and near recent burn areas. In addition, localized flooding is possible across other parts of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, along with rockslides and mudslides that could produce road closures,” according to the NWS statement.
“A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation,” said the NWS, adding that Southern California residents in or below the recently burned areas are urged to take the steps necessary to protect their property. Persons in the watch area should remain alert and follow directions of emergency preparedness officials.”
Along the coast, an extended period of high surf is expected through Friday, the NWS said. A high surf advisory will be in effect in L.A. County until 2 p.m. today, followed by a less serious high surf warning from 2 p.m. today until 9 p.m. Friday.
Breaking waves of 5-8 feet will pound the shore through this morning, then increase to 6-10 feet, then 10-15 feet Friday morning, according to an NWS statement.
“Minor coastal flooding is possible Thursday, with moderate coastal flooding and significant beach erosion likely on Friday, it said.
Amid the high surf, “ there is an increased risk for ocean drowning. Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks and capsize small boats near shore,” warned an NWS statement. Moderate coastal flooding is possible over low-lying coastal areas including beaches, beach parking lots and harbor walkways, and with vulnerable coastal roadways during the highest surf and tides.”
Off the coast, a gale warning expired at 3 a.m. today, and a small craft advisory will follow suit at 9 a.m.
In the San Gabriel Mountains and the Antelope Valley, a wind advisory will be in effect until 3 p.m. Winds of 20-35 mph are expected, along with gusts of up to 55 mph.
“Gusty winds will make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” warned the NWS, saying that driving will be particularly difficult on Interstate 5 and Highways 14 and 138, especially for high profile vehicles.
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