Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times — A man watches mud, water, and debris wash down a street in front of his Sierra Madre home yesterday.
Two powerful storms pounded the Southland over the past couple of days, and weather watchers are predicting a third truly monstrous system will roll through before we get a chance to dry out. When I got out this morning, it was chilly and the skies overcast. Soon the showers arrived with rumbling thunder, flashes of lightning, and heavy downpours. As I drove along a street in Glendale just before noon, I noticed people with umbrellas huddled in doorways. The rain was falling so hard, flimsy umbrellas provided very little protection.
All afternoon the rain came down in Burbank. At times, the chilly temperatures and rain produced hail. It was a bad weather day in Media City, but other areas suffered even more from this second storm. Along the coast, tornadoes reportedly whipped off the Pacific Ocean onto land in Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach, blowing out windows, damaging homes and vehicles. In fact, a twister flipped over an SUV, as you can probably imagine, it shocked and scared the heck out of a lot of folks.
Flooding on surface streets and major highways added to the weather grief for motorists struggling to deal with the high number of traffic accidents. In San Pedro, around 30-to-40 homes and some vehicles were flooded with at least three to four feet of water and a number of people had to be rescued. Closer to Burbank, areas scorched by wildfires last year are reportedly saturated. That prompted a news conference, just before 6 p.m. this evening, by Los Angeles County officials announcing mandatory evacuations a full 15 hours ahead of time.
Residents in nearly 500 homes are being ordered to be packed up and ready to leave by 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Those affected live in the foothills of La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge, Acton, and unincorporated areas of Glendale. The specific addresses for the evacuations are on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works website http://dpw.lacounty.gov/CARE/
This third storm is expected to drench the already soggy Southland with 2-to-4 inches of rain along coastal areas and 4-to-8 inches in the mountains. It’s due to arrive tomorrow afternoon and linger at least through much of Thursday and perhaps into Friday. Depending on the length of the storm, evacuated residents may not be able to return home until next Monday, January 25.
The storms have claimed two lives: a woman in El Cajon and a Frazier Park man, both killed by falling trees, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Be careful. Stay safe.