Strongest storm in 3 years to stay through Sunday

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A man walks with an umbrella. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A man walks with an umbrella. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Residents of sections of Glendora and Azusa remained out of their homes under evacuation orders today as a “very strong winter storm” brought the region rain, snow, high surf and fierce winds and threatened thunderstorms and flash flooding in areas denuded by wildfires.

Heavy rain was falling amid high winds this morning, and even more severe weather was expected before the storm clears out. In the meantime, the powerful Pacific low-pressure system — the region’s strongest storm in about three years — will move slowly through the region through Sunday, National Weather Service forecasters said.

Rainfall totals through Sunday are expected to be 2-3 inches near the coast and 5-8 inches along coastal mountain slopes, they said.

“Widespread moderate to heavy rainfall today will increase the possibility for flash flooding, especially on coastal mountain slopes, near and downstream,” according to an NWS advisory.

A flash flood watch was in force through Saturday evening in the San Gabriel Valley. The NWS also issued a high surf advisory for the L-A County coast until 5 p.m. Sunday and for the Orange County coast until 4 a.m. Monday. Warnings of coastal flooding also were issued in both counties, as were wind advisories and wind warnings.

Wind gusts in local mountains, including both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains, are expected to reach 60 and 70 miles per hours, according to NWS forecasters, and the NWS warned motorists to guard against broken tree limbs and other debris.

As the storm was approaching the region Thursday before its evening arrival, Glendora and Azusa imposed mandatory evacuation orders for residents near the Colby Fire burn area because of fears of possible debris and mud flows.

In Glendora, the order affected residents in an area north of Sierra Madre Avenue. In Azusa, the orders affected residents on Ridge View Drive. Residents of both cities were advised that they could use a newly establish evacuation center at the Crowther Teen & Family Center at 241 W. Dawson Ave.

Azusa police said that although there were no evacuations ordered for the Mountain Cove community, residents were being urged to take precautionary measures, including voluntary evacuations.

“Many deaths occur during a landslide when people are sleeping,” according to Azusa police.

Inmates were used yesterday to fill sandbags at the Glendora City Yard on Loraine Avenue. The inmates, normally assigned to the L.A. County Jail Fire Camp Training Facility, are doing storm duty work as part of the Prisoner Assistance Community Enhancement Program, which uses non-violent offenders to assist in public service projects.

Due to potential mud and debris flows, the Los Angeles County Public Works Department has announced the following road closures:

– Old San Gabriel Canyon Road from the Azusa city boundary to the Angeles National Forest;

– Glendora Mountain Road from Big Dalton Road to East Fork Road in the Angeles National Forest; and

– Glendora Ridge Road from Mount Baldy to Glendora Mountain Road, also in the Angeles National Forest.

Bouquet Canyon Road was scheduled to be closed in Agua Dulce today from Big Oaks Lodge to two miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road.

The roads will remain closed until the storm system has passed and the roads have been inspected.

Of special concern for the possibility of flash flooding, according to National Weather Service forecasters, are the sites of the 1,952-acre Colby Fire in the hills above Glendora and Azusa in January, the 250-acre Madre Fire in the Angeles National Forest, also in January, the 125-acre Madison Fire in the Monrovia area in April , the 22-242-acre Powerhouse Fire in the Angeles National Forest in June and the 28,000-acre Springs Fire in Ventura County in May.


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