MALIBU (CBSLA) – The third and final storm of the week is expected to bring widespread and heavy rain to the Southland overnight Wednesday, with the continued risk of flooding and debris flows on charred hillsides in wildfire burn areas.
The storm is expected to roll in Wednesday afternoon and remain through Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service, which is warning of rockslides across canyon roads and flooded streams and roadways.
“Rainfall will increase by midday today and become heavier in the evening and overnight periods,” the NWS said. “Moderate to heavy rain will taper off by Thursday afternoon.
The coasts and valleys could see 1 to 2 inches of rain, while the foothills and mountains could see 2 to 3 inches. Snow levels in the mountains are predicted above 6,500 feet, likely not affecting the Grapevine.
Several neighborhoods in the Woolsey Fire burn area in L.A. and Ventura counties have been under mandatory evacuation since Monday, including about 225 homes in Malibu, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The evacuated homes are either close to steep slopes or near the base of drainage areas.
“You have to prepare as best you can,” Malibu resident Landi Hoyt told CBS2 Wednesday. “The mudslides that happened last year up in Montecito have really highlighted to people, you could be next, it could be our house, it could be our area.”
Crews were working around the clock on storm and flood control operations throughout the area, such as putting up K-rails and cleaning out clogged storm drains.
Hundreds of homeowners in the Creek Fire burn area north of Sylmar — including Kagel, Little Tujunga and Lopez canyons — were warned to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told residents who might be worried about looting and hesitant to leave that L.A. County Sheriff’s patrols were already in place in both the Woolsey and Creek fire burn areas. Deputies have stationed themselves outside the evacuated neighborhoods to ensure looters don’t break into homes.
“We will do everything we can to protect your property,” Barger said Tuesday, also urging canyon residents with animals to move them out now to avoid the risk of having to abandon them later. “The lesson learned (at Kagel Canyon) is there is only one way in and out.”
All four Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District schools in Malibu were closed Wednesday, along with the district’s preschool in Malibu and the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu.
On Wednesday night, meanwhile, the city of Burbank downgraded a mandatory evacuation to a voluntary one for residents on Country Club Drive above Via Montana in the La Tuna Fire burn area.
The storm is being pushed by an atmospheric river, which NWS Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie described as a moisture-packing air mass. This storm, she said, has “more moisture than others.”
Meanwhile, a strong storm cell moved through Orange County overnight Tuesday, dumping an inch-and-a-half or more of rain in Fullerton, Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills; and two inches or more in Garden Grove, Anaheim and Huntington Beach. Seal Beach has gotten the most rain in Orange County, with 3.5 inches of rain since Monday.
The heavy rain caused flooding in Long Beach and Seal Beach.
A storm that moved through the region Monday shut down both the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and the 5 Freeway in the Grapevine. It also prompted a mandatory evacuation order in the Holy Fire burn area in Orange and Riverside counties.
The 97,000-acre Woolsey Fire broke out Nov. 8 south of Simi Valley. It then jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway near Calabasas and spread into Malibu. The fire destroyed more than 1,500 structures and was responsible for three deaths. It was not fully contained until Nov. 21.
The 15,600-acre Creek Fire broke out Dec. 5, 2017, in the Lake View Terrace area in the hills above Sylmar. It destroyed 60 homes and damaged 55 more.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)