Light to moderate rain doused the Southland Monday, creating conditions for a wet morning commute, forecasters said.
Monday’s rain was the result of a second Pacific storm after a system that hit Sunday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan, adding that a quarter of an inch of rain is expected in L.A. County Monday morning, three-quarters in Ventura County.
No mud or debris flows, or flash flooding of the type that struck Sunday, were expected as a result of Monday’s rains, he said, but Monday morning’s L.A. area commute is likely to be wet.
The snow level in the San Gabriels was at 5,000 feet Monday morning, expected to rise to 7,000 feet later Monday morning.
The next storm — one of several lined up in the Northern Pacific and riding the jet stream to the Southland, according to Kaplan — is expected Wednesday but the lion’s share of the precipitation likely will remain north of L.A. County, he said. A storm much more likely to strike L.A. County is expected on Friday.
Monday’s storm is still generating high winds and a phenomenon called “The Palmdale Mountain Wave,” which buffeted parts of the Antelope Valley Monday, causing sustained winds of more than 50 miles per hour accompanied by gusts of more than 70 mph, forecasters said. It began around 8 p.m. Sunday and was still blowing after 3 Monday morning — well beyond the “few hours” such an event usually lasts, Kaplan said.
The Palmdale Mountain Wave is caused when southwesterly air flowing over the San Gabriel Mountains is met by “an inversion on top that pushes the air down,” Kaplan said. The result is sustained high winds and higher gusts, which were felt in Lake Palmdale, Lancaster, Palmdale, Poppy Park, Grass Mountain and Valyermo, he said. The event usually occurs before a storm front comes through, which was the case Monday, Kaplan said.
The sustained winds and high gusts have blown down five trees in Palmdale, Sgt. Philip Anderson of the Palmdale sheriff’s station said. The station has also received an increased number of calls due to alarms set off by doors and windows rattling, he said.
Another weather impact was being felt on Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, where weekend rain caused debris flows that trapped cars and forced the closure of a section of road.
Caltrans officials said PCH would remain shut down in both directions from Las Posas Road in Ventura County to Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu until at least through later Monday, possibly through Tuesday.
Multiple vehicles became trapped in a mudflow about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at PCH and Mulholland Highway, just outside the Malibu city limits, the California Highway Patrol reported. Others were stuck at 7:06 p.m. that night in a mixture of water, mud and rocks on PCH north of Tonga Street, 2-3 miles north of the Los Angeles County line.
The roadway havoc was part of the first winter storm of 2019, which moved into the Southland Saturday night before clearing up Sunday.
Weather forecasts and warnings will not be interrupted by the ongoing federal government shutdown, NWS officials said, although forecasters were working without pay.
The NWS is forecasting rain in L.A. County Monday and highs of 54 degrees on Mount Wilson; 58 in Palmdale and Lancaster; 59 in Saugus; 60 in San Gabriel; 61 in Burbank and Woodland Hills; 62 in Pasadena, Avalon and at LAX; 63 in Long Beach; and 64 in Downtown L.A.
Partly cloudy skies were forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 46 on Santiago Peak; 55 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 58 at Fremont Canyon; 60 at Trabuco Canyon, San Clemente, Laguna Beach and Yorba Linda; 61 in Newport Beach; 62 in Anaheim and Fullerton and Mission Viejo; and 63 in Irvine.
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