LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Southland basked in a dry day Wednesday, but cleanup efforts were continuing from a powerful storm that dropped several inches of rain and caused mudslides, flooding and a dangerous sinkhole that swallowed two vehicles.
Forecasters said the region can expect dry conditions for the next couple days, with temperatures rising slightly Thursday thanks to some weak Santa Ana winds. But clouds will return by Friday, and more rain possible Saturday into Sunday, and again late Sunday or early Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm that doused the region Monday night into Tuesday dumped roughly 6 inches of rain in Porter Ranch and Woodland Hills, while about 5 inches fell in Bel Air and Beverly Hills. Pasadena got 5 inches, Burbank 2.9 inches and downtown Los Angeles got 2.7 inches, according to the NWS.
Mountain areas received far more rain, with Warm Springs recording 8 inches of rain, while more than 7 inches fell in the Sepulveda Canyon. Amounts upward of 18 inches fell over the higher terrain of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the NWS reported.
The downpours led to isolated flooding and debris flows, making for a sloppy Tuesday morning commute and warnings from local authorities for residents to stay off the roads if at all possible.
Mud flows, sliding rocks and fallen tree limbs made driving treacherous on canyon roadways out of the San Fernando Valley, frustrating drivers on critical routes such as Laurel, Coldwater and Benedict canyons. Roads in the Malibu and Topanga areas were also impacted, including a large boulder that fell onto Malibu Canyon Road in the Santa Monica Mountains, forcing a Tuesday closure. All roads in the Sepulveda Basin area were also closed Tuesday due to flooding, but most were reopened by Wednesday morning.
Residents in about 12 homes were ordered to shelter in place Tuesday morning due to mud and debris flow along Fredonia Drive at Lankershim Boulevard. The Los Angeles Fire Department said there was no structural damage to the homes.
As of midday Wednesday, most freeway closures prompted by flooding and debris were lifted, but Caltrans officials said the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway still had two lanes blocked by a mudslide near Templin Highway. The southbound 5 Freeway connector to the Harbor (110) Freeway near downtown Los Angeles was also closed due to mud, according to Caltrans.
Topanga Canyon Boulevard (state route 27) and state Route 138 were both reopened in both directions following storm closures.
With driving rendered difficult to impossible, all schools in the Malibu area were closed for the day Tuesday, with students reverting to remote learning, but those campuses reopened on Wednesday.
Topanga Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District was closed Tuesday and remained closed Wednesday due to restricted access caused by the storm. All students and staff were moved to Canyon Charter Elementary School in Santa Monica.
In San Marino, the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced that "due to saturated soils, the possibility of winds, and several fallen trees," the gardens were closed on Wednesday, although the facility's galleries remained open.
Late Monday night, as rain began pouring over the area, Los Angeles Fire Department and other first responders made a dramatic rescue as they pulled people from a large, water-filled sinkhole in Chatsworth that swallowed at least two vehicles -- one on top of the other. That sinkhole on Iverson Road continued expanding Tuesday night even though the rain had subsided, growing to an estimated 40 feet deep and spanning the entire roadway.
The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved $500,000 in emergency funding on Tuesday to expedite repairs.
Another $450,000 was approved for storm repairs to Mulholland Drive between Summit Circle and Bowmont Drive.
A high surf advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Wednesday at Orange County coastal areas, and until 10 p.m. Friday at Catalina Island.
Health officials issued a cold weather alert for Lancaster and Mount Wilson, where near-freezing or sub-freezing temperatures are expected. The alert will be in effect through Friday in Lancaster, and through Wednesday in Mount Wilson, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Forecasters said the next bout of rain is expected to arrive in the area on Saturday morning, peaking Saturday afternoon. According to the NWS, the system was only expected to drop between a half-inch and 1.5 inches in coastal and valley areas, and up to 3 inches in mountains and foothills, with the snow level falling as low as 5,000 feet Saturday night.
That system should taper off by Sunday morning, but a second, smaller system could arrive Sunday night or early Monday, with only light rain expected, possibly continuing until early Tuesday.
In response to the seemingly relentless series of storms that have battered the entire state, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for California on Sunday and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide emergency resources.
In conjunction with that declaration, the Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday that Southern California residents and business owners will have until May 15 to file federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments this year.
The one-month filing grace period is being offered to residents in areas designated by FEMA as qualifying for tax relief due to storms -- including individuals and households that reside or have a business in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.