December Marks Wettest Month In Downtown LA In 6 Years, NWS Says

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Forecasters say December marked the wettest month in downtown Los Angeles in the previous six years.

The National Weather Service says the rainfall totals for the month of December in downtown stood at more than 4 inches so far, making it the wettest month since December 2010, when 10 inches of rain was recorded. The agency said that’s 265 percent of the normal.

Los Angeles County Friday was hit with heavy evening rains that were expected to get heavier still overnight before tapering off Saturday.

Many parts of the county were under a flash-flood warning, including Topanga and Malibu along the coast, and hundreds of homes were without power.

The flooding danger was especially great in burn-scarred areas that could see mudslides and debris flows from the pounding rain.

Winter storm warnings were posted in mountain ranges around the state, from Los Angeles and San Diego counties to the Central Coast to the Sierra Nevada.

People intending to travel through the mountains were urged to be prepared for potentially heavy snow and dangerous conditions.

Snow levels in the mountains from Santa Barbara County south to San Diego County were forecast to drop as low as 3,000 feet, bringing potential trouble to highways in high-elevation passes such as the Interstate 5 corridor between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley.

After five years of drought, California has seen improvement lately as storms have moved through the state.

Now, 15 percent of the state — the north coast and part of the far northern interior — are free of drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. About 60 percent of the state remains in the three worst levels of drought — severe, extreme and exceptional.

As recently as September, 100 percent of the state was at some level of drought.

In burn areas, many spots were already soaked by midweek rains from a system that drew tropical moisture into the region and a storm last week.

In the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles, the city of Duarte was on “yellow alert” — the second-highest level in its safety system — and advised residents that mud and debris flows could be similar to what occurred on Dec. 16, when a torrent gushed from a fire scar above town. K-rail barriers already positioned in the neighborhood protected homes.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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