Rain on freeway
Rain on a Southern California freeway. File photo

A new storm moved into Southern California Saturday morning, bringing heavy rain and winds of up to 80 miles per hour, threatening mud and debris flows in the recent burn areas and prompting a winter storm warning for Los Angeles County mountains.

Coastal and valley areas could receive up to 1 inch of rain per hour during peak rainfall and the snow level in the San Gabriel Mountains could fall to 5,000 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The heaviest rainfall was expected between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.

“Given 1-3 inches of rain across (parts of Southern California) roughly 48 hours ago, along with the presence of a few recent burn scars, flash flooding, mudslides and debris flows appear likely,” the NWS said. “This is a very dangerous situation for the terrain of Southern California sensitive to heavy rain impacts.”

A winter storm warning was in effect through early Sunday evening for the Los Angeles County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica Range.

The snow level is expected to be at 7,000 to 7,500 feet through Saturday morning and drop to around 6,000 feet by Saturday evening, to between 5,000 and 5,500 feet late Saturday evening and Sunday, according to an NWS statement. At times, snow may fall as low as 4,500 feet.

The impact expected to result from the storm include downed trees and power outages, increased accidents and travel delays, shallow debris flows, with more significant flows and flash-flooding possible, rockslides on canyon roads, and winter weather driving conditions in the San Gabriel Mountains, the NWS said.

The storm could trigger mudslides and debris flows down slopes previously denuded by wildfires, including the Woolsey, Hill, Thomas, La Tuna, South and Stone fires, said NWS meteorologist Curt Kaplan.

The city of Burbank has issued voluntary evacuation orders for residents of Country Club Drive above Via Montana, beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday and continuing through at least 4 p.m.

Disruptions are also expected at lower elevations, including “significant wind impacts possible for Interstate 5 near the Grapevine, where very strong gusts of 70 to 80 mph will be possible.”

The storm hails from the Gulf of Alaska and will tap into a band of moisture stretching from Hawaii to California as a low pressure system parks itself over California, NWS meteorologist Todd Hall said.

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