Flooding on a Los Angeles-area roadway. Courtesy OnScene.TV
Flooding on a Los Angeles-area roadway. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Los Angeles County and much of California were under a state of emergency Tuesday after Gov. Jerry Brown issued two proclamations following brutal winter storms that have battered the region.

The proclamations were issued to secure funding to help communities respond to, and recover from, the severe winter storms that have caused flooding, mudslides, erosion, debris flow and damage to roads and highways.

Even though forecasters expect only a shower or two, cloudiness and even a bit of sun Tuesday and dry weather through the rest of the week, digging out from the damage inflicted by the massive storms during past days will take significant money, time and effort.

With the proclamations, Brown has directed Caltrans to formally request immediate assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, and he has requested the Office of Emergency Services to provide assistance to local governments.

In addition to Los Angeles, 48 of California’s 56 other counties fell under the governor’s state of emergency, including San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Brown’s Monday proclamations come as the tail end of a powerful storm moved through the region and continued to threaten more downpours and possible thunderstorms.

As of midday Monday, about 9,000 customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were without power as a result of storm-related damages. Service had been restored to about 8,400 other DWP customers since Sunday. Southern California Edison reported outages affecting 3,019 customers in Los Angeles County and 1,943 more in Orange County.

Evacuation orders were lifted Monday morning for 120 homes in the Santa Clarita area near the site of the Sand Fire in July. Evacaution orders were lifted at 2 p.m. for 180 homes in Duarte near the site of the Fish Fire in June.

Several National Weather Service warnings were in effect beside the flash flood watch affecting Los Angeles and Orange counties. A winter storm warning denoting highly challenging travel conditions will be in effect until 6 p.m., a small craft advisory pointing to hazardous sailing conditions will expire at 6 Tuesday morning, a high surf advisory will be in force until 6 p.m. Tuesday, and a high surf warning will be in effect in Orange County until 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The NWS said powerful wind gusts rocked the Southland Monday morning, including 50 mph at Lake Palmdale in the Antelope Valley, 48 mph at Mill Creek in the San Gabriel Mountains, 45 mph at Topanga in the Santa Monica Recreational Mountain Area, 44 mph at the Port of Los Angeles, 37 mph at Malibu Canyon and on Santa Catalina Island, and 27 mph in Saugus in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Dangerous conditions characterized by waves of up to 18 feet were reported in the Pacific Ocean while heavy snow accumulation was occurring in the San Gabriel Mountains, where the winter storm warning denoted highly challenging travel conditions.

The snow level is expected to drop to around 4,000 feet, which may result in accumulating snow on The Grapevine, possibly resulting in a closure of Interstate 5 near the Tejon Pass.

The NWS summed up the raft of weather challenges the region is facing Monday as a result of the storm, the third in a series of three that began last week, this way:

“Potential impacts include the possibility of flash flooding for all areas due to heavy downpours and isolated thunderstorms, debris flows for recent burn areas, rock and mudslides along canyon roads, urban and small stream flooding, significant travel delays, downed trees and isolated power outages, and dangerous winter driving conditions in the mountains.”

On Sunday, a rainfall record of of 3.97 inches was set at Long Beach Airport, besting the record of 3.75 inches set Jan. 4, 1995. At Los Angeles International Airport, a record of 2.94 inches was established, beating the record set in 1983 by a full inch.

Heavy rain also fell in other communities: 3.35 inches in Redondo Beach, 3.30 inches at the San Gabriel Dam, 2.64 inches in Whittier and 2.15 inches in downtown Los Angeles. In Orange County, Yorba Linda received 3.59 inches of rain, Garden Grove 3.55 inches, Huntington Beach 2.95, Santa Ana 2.75, Fullerton Airport 2.66 and Corona del Mar 1.18 inches.

Forecasters said temperatures will be about the same amid partly cloudy skies Tuesday, then rise 3-5 degrees under sunny skies Wednesday. Sunny conditions will persist several days.

–Staff and City News Service

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