A third day of rain is in the forecast for Southern California as a slow-moving storm unleashing relentless rain continues to soak the region.
Steady rainfall was soaking parts of Orange County and most of Los Angeles County ahead of the Tuesday morning drive. The threat of flash flooding continues for much of the area, which had been under a flash flood warning through most of Sunday and Monday.
Flash flood watches are in effect early Tuesday. More than 120 slides have been reported in Los Angeles since the start of the uninterrupted rainfall, including a torrent of rocks and mud that damaged homes Sunday night in the Studio City area, a mudslide in Beverly Crest that left cars stuck Monday in deep mud and another slide that damaged a Baldwin Hills home.
A flash flood warning remains in place until 10 a.m. for the Santa Monica Mountains. Two additional inches of rain are possible for the range’s already soaked canyons and hillsides.
A flash flood warning also was in effect early Tuesday in Ventura County.
“It’s hard to believe this system, all the rain it has given us,” said NBCLA forecaster Belen De Leon. “We have steady rain (Tuesday) with some heavier pockets. In the morning it’s steady. In the afternoon it’s scattered.
The storm that moved slowly into Southern California on Sunday has unleashed nonstop rain for a widespread area. Rain was expected to ease Tuesday, but flooding is still possible and any additional rain will raise the slide threat in saturated areas.
Showers will linger into Wednesday before the system breaks up.
Near the Hollywood Hills, floodwaters carried mud, rocks and household objects downhill through Studio City, city officials said. Sixteen people were evacuated and several homes were red-tagged.
“It looks like a river that’s been here for years,” said Keki Mingus, whose neighbors’ homes were damaged. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Drake Livingston who lives in the Beverly Crest neighborhood, was watching a movie around midnight when a friend alerted him to flooding.
“We looked outside and there’s a foot-and-a-half of running water, and it starts seeping through the doors,” said Livingston, whose car was found submerged in mud Monday morning.
Stretches of Piuma Road and Topanga Canyon Boulevard were also closed due to flooding and debris in the Malibu/Topanga areas.
Authorities warned people to remain on high alert.
An evacuation order remained in place for some residents of a canyon area that was scarred by a 2022 fire. The area was at increased risk of mud and debris flows because the area was burned bare of brush and trees that could hold it back, authorities said.
The Los Angeles Fire Department said 1,000 firefighters had dealt with more than 300 mudslides in addition to more than 100 reports of flooding and rescues of motorists stranded in vehicles on inundated roadways.
Crews rescued people from swift-moving water in various parts of Southern California, including 16 people and five cats in Los Angeles County alone, authorities said.
About an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles, two homeless people were rescued Monday after spending the night on a small island in the Santa Ana River in San Bernardino.
“They were cold and exhausted from a night out stranded on this little patch of dirt that was in the middle of the river,” said Capt. Nathan Lopez of the San Bernardino County Fire Department. A dog and two cats were also saved.
Shelters added beds for the city’s homeless population of nearly 75,000 people.
The storm plowed through Northern California over the weekend, killing three people who were crushed by falling trees, then lingered over the south. It was the second storm fueled by an atmospheric river to hit the state over the span of days.
The storm brought more rain to downtown Los Angeles than the area typically receives for the entire month of February. Downtown Los Angeles received nearly 7 inches of rain by Monday night, nearly half the yearly average of 14.25 inches.
It was already the third-wettest two-day period since 1877.
The two-day rain total for downtown Los Angeles for Sunday and Monday was 7.03 inches, the third highest rain total for two consecutive days in downtown LA since 1877, when rain totals started being recorded. The highest two-day total is 7.98 inches set on Dec. 31, 1933 and Jan. 1, 1934. The second highest two-day total is 7.44 inches set on Jan. 25 and 26, 1956.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for most of coastal Southern California and on Monday, President Joe Biden promised to provide any needed federal help.
Source: NBC Los Angeles