Thunderstorm Blasts Valley, L.A. River Rages

Steady rain may last for 3-5 hours, then taper off in the afternoon, according to the NWS.

A heavy band of rain moved across Los Angeles County, and triggered warnings from the National Weather Service of possible localized ponding and flooding across the Southland.

A large tree hit a house, but no one was injured, in Toluca Lake, and power was out for half an hour in the early evening in Studio City in the Radford area.

Anyone happening over the bridges of the Los Angeles River in Studio City can see the river raging with a roaring sound (see video and photos above.)

On the Studio City side of Mulholland Drive, large bowling ball-sized rocks slid down the hill into the road between the Cahuenga Pass and the Universal Overlook.

Malibu and the Conejo and Santa Clarita valleys appeared to bear the brunt of the storm. Rockslides were reported on Mulholland Highway above Malibu, and some ramps and freeway lanes were flooding along the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway near Canyon Country.

An urban stream flooding advisory was issued for the far-western end of Los Angeles County at 10:10 a.m., and extended a little further east as the front progressed at midday. At 12:57 p.m., it was extended to include the front slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains at La Canada-Flintridge, Sunland-Tujunga and Lake View Terrace.

But county flood experts said they did not expect mudflows from the Station Fire burned slopes.

"Rainfall rates over Malibu were around one half inch per hour," the NWS office in Oxnard said. It predicted widespread ponding and intersection flooding as the band of rain moved east into Los Angeles.

Other news:

  • A car flipped on the northbound 170 Hollywood Freeway near the Burbank Boulevard exit in North Hollywood, causing traffic to be completely shut down for some time. There is no word yet on any possible injuries. (See photo).
  • The Auto Club 400 NASCAR race was terminated at 258 miles, as heavy showers move into the Inland Empire. Tony Stewart is the race winner.
  • More than 4,300 Southern California Edison were blacked out at midafternoon.
  • Traffic lights are dark in much of Culver City, and a huge multiplex movie theater in Sherman Oaks had to hand out rain checks when the power failed at about 2:45 p.m.
  • Water is beginning to accumulate in the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin, and a fire crew said Burbank Boulevard is becoming flooded east of Balboa Boulevard. Eastbound traffic is being diverted at Burbank, but westbound traffic continues to flow into the basin from the San Diego (405) Freeway, accordign to fire crews at the scene.
  • A stretch along the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway in Encino was the scene today of a pair of unrelated crashes on wet pavement that involved at least nine vehicles, the California Highway Patrol said. Both crashes were at the bottom of the long downgrade from Sepulveda Pass, in an area where construction has narrowed lanes and reduced the speed limit to 55 miles per hour. Paramedics rushed three people to area hospitals. Their conditions were not immediately known, according to a department statement.

Steady rain may last for 3-5 hours, then taper off in the afternoon, according to the NWS.

And the Auto Club 400 race in Fontana started at 12:15, and may get in at least 202 of its 400 miles before the rain band arrives, an NWS forecaster said. NASCAR will count the race results only if it goes past the halfway mark, a racetrack official said.

"We've got a pretty narrow frontal band," said NWS Meteorologist Dave Bruno. "It'll probably rain for 3-5 hours, stop, then start up again in the afternoon."

Winds will be out of the southeast at 15-25 mph, and temperatures will top out around 60 degrees.

Thunderstorms are possible after the low-pressure front passes, and the Los Angeles Basin should get a half-inch to an inch of rain by the time the storm moves east. The seasonal total dating from July 1 is 5.98 inches, about 45 percent of normal for this time of year, which is 13.29 inches, Bruno said.

"Hopefully, we'll make up for some of that today," he said. "But as far as the season goes, it's not looking great."

Los Angeles typically gets about 15 inches of rain per year, most of it December-March.

The higher the elevation, the higher the rainfall amounts, Bruno said. Some of the south-facing San Gabriel Mountain foothills could get up to 2 inches of rain.

Eight to 15 inches of snow is expected at elevations of about 6,000 feet or more, and that should add a few days to Southern California's foreshortened skiing and snowboarding season due to a lack of snow. Some snow should fall at elevations as low as about 4,500 feet.

Monday should be dry and mostly sunny, with highs in the upper 60s.




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Pat March 26, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Yep, that's exactly what the L.A. River looks and sounds like when it rains heavily. By my estimate we had heavy rain from 11:30 am to almost 4:00 p.m., nearly 4-1/2 hours worth of downpour. And more rain is expected tonight.


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