Southland Dries Out After Two-Day Drenching, With More Rain On The Way

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Southern California was beginning to dry out from two days of virtually nonstop rain Sunday, although thousands of people remained without electricity in Los Angeles County and more rain is in the forecast over the next three days.

The powerful winter storm dumped 10.79 inches of rain on Woodland Hills through Sunday morning, 9.29 inches in La Canada Flintridge, 8.38 inches in Newhall, 8.11 inches in Pasadena, 6.88 inches in Burbank, 6.76 inches in Bel Air and 4.49 inches in downtown Los Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

Mountain High received 93 inches of snow, and Mount Wilson got 40 inches.

Some highway and surface streets were flooded Saturday, and authorities advised people not to travel if they can avoid it. Skies were partially clear Sunday morning, but the NWS said travel in the mountain areas would "still be very `dicey' through the day."

The following highway closures were ongoing Sunday:

-- State Route 2 in the Angeles National Forest was closed from two miles north of I-210 to Vincent Gulch Road;

-- State Route 39 in the Angeles National Forest was closed at East Fork Road.

Several thousand people remained without electricity Sunday due to weather-related outages.

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker was in intensive care after suffering an injury while working to restore power Saturday in the San Fernando Valley, the utility said Sunday.

"This accident and serious injury of our employee is a reminder that our line crews and other field personnel are truly unsung heroes who work in hazardous conditions risking their lives to keep the power flowing across our city," LADWP General Manager Martin Adams said.

The LADWP said 49,000 of its 1.5 million electric customers were still without power Sunday. Since the start of the storm Friday, crews had restored power to more than 98,000 customers.

The remaining outages were spread across LADWP's service area with some of the hardest hit communities being Glassell Park, Green Meadows, Hancock Park, Hollywood, Studio City, Chatsworth, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Sun Valley, Tarzana, Van Nuys and Woodland Hills.

The time frame for crews to respond to an outage increased to 24-48 hours early Saturday, up from the previous 12-24 hours, when it became clear that continued wind and rain would result in additional outages even as crews continued to restore power.

Meanwhile, Southern California Edison's outage map showed 21 outages affecting more than 2,200 customers in Los Angeles County as of 4 p.m. Sunday, and five outages in Orange County affecting 665 customers.

Firefighters and paramedics performed the latest of several water rescues Sunday in a remote section of the Tujunga Wash in Sunland. Two people and a cat who were camping inside a vehicle in a remote section of the wash were rescued by helicopter after the area filled with storm water. The two people were being treated for hypothermia.

Los Angeles County health officials warned people to avoid going into the ocean near discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers until at least Wednesday due to the storms. The water might contain bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash and other health hazards.

Another storm system was expected to bring periods of rain and mountain snow to the Southland late Sunday through Wednesday. Gusty winds are possible for periods of time, especially Monday, before a warming and drying trend takes shape later in the week.

Scattered showers, isolated thunderstorms and some hail were expected Sunday afternoon and evening and early Monday, with the potential for minor urban flooding. For the first wave of the storm, NWS models suggested to 0.50 to 1 inch of rain across coastal and valley areas with 1 to 2 inches in the mountains.

The following two waves are predicted to be much lighter, forecasters said, with sunny skies returning on Thursday.

Temperatures continue to be well below normal. Daytime highs on Sunday were 54 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, 52 in North Hollywood, 51 in Pasadena and 49 in Valencia. Those numbers were expected to be roughly the same over the next few days.

Lows are mostly in the 30s, dropping to the 20s in some mountain areas and in the 40s in Orange County.

Snow levels Sunday morning were hovering in the 1,500-2,000 foot range, and were expected to increase slightly to the 2,000-3,000 foot range in the afternoon.

A winter weather advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Wednesday in the mountains.

Winds were relatively light Sunday, but gusts were expected to reach 40 mph in the mountains and 45 mph in the Antelope Valley.

Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain reopened Sunday after both parks were closed Friday and Saturday.

This weekend was the first time downtown Los Angeles received at least 2 inches of rain on consecutive calendar days since Feb. 28 and March 1 of 1978, according to the NWS.

The weather service added that Friday was the wettest February day at Burbank Airport since records began there in 1939, beating the previous record of 4.50 inches set on Feb. 8, 1993.

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