11 Inches Fall, Causing Mudslides, Sinkholes, Floods

By mzaxazm

UPDATED at 1:20 p.m.: The National Weather Service in Los Angeles has issued a Flash Flood Warning for West Central Los Angeles County and Southeastern Ventura County until 6 p.m. today.

“Doppler radar indicated moderate to heavy rainfall moving into much of the warned area,” read a statement from the NWS. “This additional rain will likely cause additional flash flooding as well as rock and mudslide activity. Recent burn areas could also see debris flow.”

PREVIOUSLY at 12:28 p.m.: Sunday marked one of the wettest days in the recorded history of Los Angeles, according to Mayor Karen Bass, and downtown L.A. set a record for the date, with over 4 inches of rain.

Los Angeles officials urged residents to stay home and off the roads Monday. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in eight counties in the state, including Los Angeles and Orange counties. Los Angeles County later declared its own state of emergency.

But many of L.A. county’s priciest zip codes were hammered much worse than most.

According to the National Weather Service, bucolic Bel-Air received 10.59 inches of rain in the past two days. Mud and debris flows were reported in the Beverly Glen area, where about five homes suffered “significant” damage, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Sixteen people were displaced as city Building and Safety officials were summoned to assess the damage and determine if the homes need to be red-tagged as uninhabitable.

The Los Angeles Fire Department reported that Benedict Canyon and Beverly Glen Canyon roads were closed because of flooding and rock slides.

Video posted online by KNX News reporter Jon Baird shows an SUV buried in mud up to the windows on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Crest.

Another post from KCAL’s John Schreiber seemed to show a Beverly Crest-area house that slid off its foundation and down Caribou Lane.

Topanga was hit even harder, with very close to 11 inches of rain (10.8, per the NWS) falling in the past two days. According to a news conference hosted by L.A. Mayor Karen Bass this morning, a portion of Topanga Canyon Road was closed. Last night, evacuation orders were put in place for a portion of Topanga.

Another major north-south artery in the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Canyon, was shut down at Mullholland and large boulders rained down onto the road. Stretches of nearby Piuma Road were also closed due to flooding and debris flows, with sheriff’s officials reporting several vehicles completely submerged on Piuma.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District schools were closed Monday.

Two homes sustained significant damage in Studio City when mud and debris slid down a hillside along Lockridge Road. Fire crews evacuated residents from nine homes on the stretch. In the Tarzana/Encino area, three homes were impacted by a debris flow along Boris Drive, prompting the evacuation of 16 residents and nine homes.

With rain expected to continue falling throughout the day and into Tuesday, a flash flood warning was issued until 3 p.m. for the Santa Monica Mountains and the Hollywood Hills.

“The intensity of the rain will resume,” an official announced at Mayor Bass’ news conference. “Conditions will deteriorate as the afternoon unfolds.”

A flood advisory was issued for the rest of L.A. County through 3 p.m. as rain continued falling. Videos posted online show the region’s waterways – including the L.A. River near Disney and Radford Studios and Ballona Creek near Playa Vista – very close to overtopping bridges and their concrete banks.

Roads leading to and through the perennially-flooded Sepulveda Basin were closed, including Burbank Boulevard between the 405 and Balboa Boulevard and Woodley Avenue between Burbank and Victory boulevards.

Residents in the La Tuna Canyon Road area north of Hollywood Burbank Airport were ordered to evacuate until Tuesday due to the high risk of debris flow triggered by the heavy rain.

The affected area borders Horse Haven Street to the north, Martindale Avenue to the east, Penrose Street to the south, and Ledge Avenue to the west, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Eastbound La Tuna Canyon Road was closed to all but residents in the evacuation area at Ledge Avenue, at Sunland Boulevard, at Honolulu Avenue and the westbound lanes are closed at the 210 Freeway with only freeway access allowed.

Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm are closed today. The Getty Center and Villa and The Los Angeles Zoo announced they would also be closed.

“Additional rainfall amounts through Tuesday are generally expected to range from 1 to 2 inches for most coastal and valley areas, with 2 to 4 inches in the foothills and mountains. However, L.A. County will likely see higher amounts through Tuesday with an additional 1.50 to 3 inches for coastal/valley areas, and 3 to 5 inches for foothills and mountains. Rain rates between 0.10 and 0.25 inches per hour will be common through Tuesday, however local rates between 0.50 and 1 inches per hour will occur in heavier showers and thunderstorms.”

 According to the National Weather Service, 4.10 inches of rain fell in downtown Los Angeles Sunday, breaking the daily rainfall total for Feb. 4 of 2.55 inches set in 1927. It was the third wettest February day and the 12th wettest day for anytime during the year since 1877, when rainfall totals first started being recorded. The wettest day on record for downtown Los Angeles was 5.88 inches set on March 21, 1938, the year of the city’s great flood.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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