Southern California sees record rainfall – with more on the way

More rain is expected Sunday night and Monday after Southern California saw record rainfall Saturday, leading to flooded streets and emergencies ranging from the rescue of a woman hanging onto a tree in a Laguna Hills creek to multiple cars being crushed by a fallen tree in a Woodland Hills parking lot.

Downtown Los Angeles received 1.82 inches of rain Saturday, breaking the old record of 1.56 inches set in 1978. At LAX, a record 1.53 inches fell Saturday, breaking the old record of 1.51 inches, also from 1978. And 1.72 inches fell at Long Beach Airport, surpassing the 1.48 inches from 1978, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain began falling late Saturday morning, with the brunt of the system hitting in the late afternoon and evening.

Several new daily rainfall records were set yesterday including Downtown Los Angeles with 1.82 inches! This brings the season total (since Oct 1) to 11.91 inches, which is 6.46 inches above normal to date.

See the link below for additional records!

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) January 15, 2023

The precipitation tapered off Saturday night, and the area is expected to get a break from the rain until late afternoon Sunday, when another storm moves in.

That system will linger over the area into Monday’s national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 3 a.m. Tuesday for the Los Angeles County mountains. Forecasters said as much as 3 inches of snow could fall below 7,000 feet, with 5 to 10 inches possible at higher elevations Saturday night. For Sunday night through Monday, snow could accumulate 5 to 10 inches above 5,500 feet, and 3 to 6 inches at higher points.

“Travel could be very difficult,” according to the NWS. “Gusty winds could bring down tree branches. There is a 10 to 20 percent chance of light snow accumulations on the Grapevine over Interstate 5 Monday night.”

Alright y’all, we’ve got one more storm to get through before we dry out for a bit! Spotty showers will continue today.

Heavier precip will begin to move in overnight tonight and continue thru Mon afternoon, with lower snow levels (down to 5000 feet). Be safe out there! #cawx

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) January 15, 2023

As of 7 a.m. Sunday, Caltrans was reporting the following closures:

The southbound 5 Freeway connector to the southbound Harbor (110) Freeway was closed due to mud and debris.
All lanes of State Route 2 in the Angeles National Forest were closed in both directions from 3.3 miles east of Newcomb’s Ranch to SR 39.
All lanes of SR 39 were closed in both directions from San Gabriel River Bridge to 3 miles north of East Fork Road.
Two right lanes were blocked on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway near Templin Highway in northern Los Angeles County by a 250-foot-long mudslide.

In Laguna Hills, Orange County Fire Authority workers saved a woman who was clinging to a tree above rising water at Aliso Creek near the 24400 block of Christina Court. That dramatic rescue occurred at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

A helicopter lowered a rescuer to the woman, picked her up and took her to safety, where she was reunited with family, OCFA Capt. Thanh Nguyen said.

“As the weather continues to fill up waterways, we strongly urge everyone to stay away from the water,” he said.

A high surf advisory was in effect until 10 p.m. Tuesday at Orange County beaches, where huge waves have been seen in the last few days.

Flooding was reported in the Long Beach Peninsula community at about 2 p.m. Saturday, affecting residences along 67th Place. A little farther to the northwest, all lanes of the Long Beach (710) Freeway were flooded between Anaheim and Willow streets.

In Woodland Hills, a large tree toppled at 8:13 p.m. Saturday in the 23300 block of Mulholland Drive, crushing multiple cars in a parking lot.

In the San Bernardino Mountains, a stretch of Highway 18 was closed by a rockslide between Highway 138 and Lake Gregory Drive reported shortly after 9 p.m.

The rain was also creating dangerous conditions for hikers. The Montrose Search and Rescue Team — a nonprofit, volunteer rescues group affiliated with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — reported Sunday that “there have been numerous slip and fall incidents in the Angeles National Forest the last few weeks. Some have resulted in fatalities.”

The additional rain is bad news for crews still working to clean up after last week’s storms. A sinkhole that developed on a Calabasas roadway and swallowed two vehicles continued growing in size. The sinkhole on Iverson Road was estimated Friday to have grown to about 45 feet deep while spanning the entire roadway. The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved $500,000 in emergency funding on Tuesday to expedite repairs of the sinkhole.

Another $450,000 was approved for storm repairs to Mulholland Drive between Summit Circle and Bowmont Drive, which remained closed to all non-residents on Sunday.

Due to the new storm systems, Santa Anita Park canceled all scheduled races on Saturday and Monday. Los Alamitos Race Course scrubbed all races planned for Saturday night.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass on Friday declared a local state of emergency due to the recent storms and impending additional rain. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have also declared a state of emergency over the storms to speed the process of disaster relief.

Conditions should dry out by Tuesday, beginning a mostly rain-free week, but some Santa Ana winds could develop by later in the week.

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