More Rain, Snow Hits Drenched Southern California


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The first of three storm systems pushed through Southern California Monday, bringing more rain and snow to an already soaked region and prompting the National Weather Service to issue a winter weather warning for Los Angeles County mountains.

A winter weather advisory will be in effect for the mountains, including Acton and Mount Wilson, until 1 p.m. Tuesday, when a more serious winter storm warning will take effect and remain in place until 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to the NWS.

Forecasters said the mountains can anticipate "moderate snow through Tuesday afternoon, becoming heavy at times late Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday. Snow total of  8 to 16 inches with local amounts to 24 inches, highest in the eastern San Gabriel mountains. Winds will gust from 40 mph to locally 60 mph at times."

According to the weather service, snow levels will initially be between 3,000 and 4,500 feet, but the level could drop as low as 1,500 feet by Wednesday.

"Travel could be very difficult to impossible due to reduced visibility due to snow and blowing snow. Mountain roads, including higher portions of Interstate 5 will likely be impacted at times," according to the NWS. "Snow drifts, especially above 5000 feet, may be another substantial travel hazard. The weight of recent snow combined with strong winds may down trees and powerlines."

Southern California was just beginning to dry out from two days of virtually nonstop rain on Friday and Saturday. The powerful winter storm dumped 10.79 inches of rain on Woodland Hills through Sunday morning, 9.29 inches in La Cañada 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 NWS.

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

The torrential rains in La Cañada Flintridge prompted a mudslide Sunday that severely damaged at least one home on Paulette Place and raised concerns about additional slides that could occur with more rain.

A series of three storm fronts will be pushing through the area this week, forecasters said. The weakest of the three was felt in the region early Monday, followed by a secondary front was expected to arrive Monday evening into Tuesday. The early waves of the storm brought some rain, but only at a "moderate" pace compared to the heavy downpours seen late last week.

The strongest front is expected late Tuesday into Wednesday. Forecasters said by the time the storm series ends, most valley and coastal areas would see between 0.75 to 1.25 inches of rain, with some mountain areas receiving up to 3 inches.

"Gusty southwest to west winds are possible for periods of times, especially across the interior portions of the area and mountain areas over the next several days," according to the NWS.

A wind advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Monday in the Antelope Monday, but a more serious high wind warning will take effect at 2 p.m. Tuesday and continue until 4 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters said southwest winds will blow at 25 to 40 mph, with gusts of up to 60 mph.

State Route 2 in the Angeles National Forest remained closed Monday from two miles north of I-210 to Islip Saddle due to snow from the recent storms. State Route 39 in the Angeles National Forest was closed at East Fork Road due to mud and debris blocking the roadway.

Meanwhile, thousands of people remained without electricity Monday following the powerful storms.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported Monday afternoon that about 27,000 customers were without power, but crews had restored power to about 143,000 customers who lost electricity during the storms. The utility reported that crews were working around the clock to get the power back on.

A DWP worker was in intensive care after suffering an injury while working to restore power Saturday in the San Fernando Valley, according to the utility.

"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.

Meanwhile, Southern California Edison's outage map showed 44 outages affecting more than 2,100 customers across its vast service area, including about 330 in Los Angeles County and about 23 in Orange County.

Los Angeles County health officials continued to warn 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.

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

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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