Southern California residents are cleaning up and taking stock of the damage after Friday’s storm, even as scattered showers continue to fall Saturday.
A flash flood watch for Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was canceled Saturday morning. Flooding occurred on a number of highways and streets Friday, tens of thousands of people lost power, one person was killed in Sherman Oaks when a tree fell on top of power lines and a vehicle, and a large sinkhole swallowed two cars in Studio City.
The southbound Golden State (5) Freeway south of Sunland Boulevard in Sun Valley was re-opened as of 9 a.m. Saturday morning, with the southbound 5 Freeway north of Sunland Boulevard is still being cleaned up, Caltrans reported. Northbound traffic on I-5 was reduced to two lanes at Alameda Avenue in Burbank and at Sheldon Street in Sun Valley.
The freeway was closed at Lankershim Boulevard in Sunland on Friday, where as much as 3 feet of water pooled on the roadway. In Sun Valley, fire crews scrambled to rescue 15 people from vehicles that became stuck in rushing water on San Fernando Road, according to the LAFD’s Erik Scott.
Evacuation orders were lifted Saturday morning for about 200 hillside-area residents in Duarte as the city moved to the Yellow Alert as of 8 a.m. However, residents of Melcanyon, between Brookridge and Fish Canyon, will have to legally park on adjoining streets and walk in due to ongoing clean-up efforts.
Officials had ordered evacuations for a couple hundred homes near the Fish Fire burn area in Duarte, and classes were canceled at Valley View School in advance of the storm. An evacuation center was opened at the city Community Center.
“Evacuated residents are encouraged to bring medicines and any other items they may need for a minimum 48-hour period,” according to a notice issued by the city.
Closures were ordered at Royal Oaks and Greenbank; Bettyhill and Conata; Royal Oaks and Mel Canyon; eastbound Fish Canyon at Mel Canyon; westbound Fish Canyon at Mel Canyon, Mountaincrest and Deerlane; Brookridge and Tannencrest; and Sunnydale Drive and Westvale Road.
Six Flags Magic Mountain officials announced Saturday morning that the Valencia theme park would not open Saturday. The storm was particularly brutal in the Santa Clarita Valley, where officials reported multiple power lines being down and disruptions in service due to flooding and road closures on Friday.
As the rain grew in intensity, trees were felled by the combination of high winds and saturated ground. Los Angeles Fire Department officials reported dozens of fallen trees around the city Friday and Saturday.
In Sherman Oaks, one person was electrocuted when a tree fell on top of power lines and a vehicle. Another tree fell onto a house in Northridge, another fell onto power lines in Valley Glen and another smashed into an apartment building in Westwood, narrowly missing a resident sleeping inside.
The Sepulveda Basin recreation area in the San Fernando Valley was closed Friday afternoon due to rising water in the basin, and Caltrans officials reported a rockslide slowed traffic on the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway in the Grapevine.
The Los Angeles Fire Department said there were as many as 150 reports of electrical wires being downed in the city. Both the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison reported tens of thousands of customers were without power late Friday, and the DWP estimated that more than 50,000 customers were still without power Saturday.
In Studio City, two cars had fallen into a 20-foot wide sinkhole at 4245 N. Laurel Canyon Blvd., two blocks south of Moorpark Street, and one of the drivers had to be rescued by the LAFD. The 48-year-old woman was taken to the hospital in fair condition.
Air travel was also in disarray Friday, with hundreds of flights canceled at Burbank, Los Angeles International and John Wayne airports. At LAX, more than 300 flights were impacted. Southwest Airlines canceled almost all of its flights in and out of the area on Friday, along with some Saturday.
Nearly 3 inches of rain fell in the Van Nuys area over a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. A record 1.96 inches fell at Long Beach Airport, breaking the daily rainfall record of 1.81 inches set in 1980. A record 0.59 inches fell in Lancaster, breaking the 2005 record of 0.23 inches.
The storm was particularly strong because it was tapping into a so- called atmospheric river over the Pacific, sucking up volumes of warm subtropical moisture, forecasters said.
High surf is expected along the coast through Sunday as a result of a large storm-generated westerly swell, with the biggest surf expected Saturday.
“Large waves and strong rip currents will increase the risk of ocean drowning for swimmers and surfers,” according to the NWS statement. “Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches or rocks and capsize small boats near shore.”
Forecasters said the area will get a break from the rain on Sunday before more showers return Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
—City News Service