LOCAL CALIFORNIA

Forecasters said the weekend storm was the strongest in several years. It set new rainfall records on Sunday and caused widespread flooding after several hours of sustained, pouring rain.

Key info

  • Rain will continue today, though it's likely to be less intense than it was over the weekend
  • The city of Duarte has issued evacuation orders for residents living in the areas burned last summer by the Fish fire in the San Gabriel Mountains near Azusa.
  • Santa Clarita issued notices for about 120 homes in the vicinity of last summer’s Sand fire.
  • Evacuations were also ordered in burn areas in Silverado Canyon in Orange County and parts of Santa Barbara County.

Storm waves destroy famed 'cement ship' in Northern California

Storm-fueled waves in the Monterey Bay this weekend smashed the remains of the Palo Alto, a famed World War I-era vessel dubbed the "Cement Ship," which is moored in the town of Aptos, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the National Weather Service, monster surf on Saturday set a new wave height record for Monterey Bay: 34.12 feet. The previous record was 32.8 feet, set in 2008.

The Palo Alto, whose stern was connected to a pier at Seacliff State Beach, was no match for the ocean's might. The waves snapped the stern section of the ship and flipped it over.

Last February, El Nino waves severely fractured the ship, which has been crumbling for years and was already split into several pieces before the massive waves this weekend accelerated its demise.

"We've seen very large surf, with very little break in between, and it's that repeated beating down by the ocean that seems to be having the biggest effect on the ship this year," Bill Wolcott, a California State Parks public safety superintendent, told ABC 7 News .

The Palo Alto was built in 1919 for use as a tanker in World War I, but was not completed in time, according to the Aptos History Museum. It was stripped, then rebuilt to include a ballroom that hosted musicians including Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman and Tommy Dorsey.

The ship has been moored at Seacliff Beach since 1930 and has remained a popular tourist attraction for the town.

"Everybody is running down to check it out, because it's a significant change in the way the ship looks" after this weekend's storm, Aptos History Museum curator John Hibble told ABC 7.

The latest from the National Weather Service in L.A.

Thunderstorms, flash flooding possible as storms continue Monday

The rains that deluged Southern California over the weekend are set to continue Monday, with a possibility of thunderstorms and flash flooding throughout the region, according to the National Weather Service .

The storm, which forecasters said was the strongest in several years, set rainfall records on Sunday and caused widespread flooding after several hours of sustained, pouring rain. Although the rain will continue Monday, it will not be as intense as it was over the weekend, forecasters said.

“Today’s going to be more of a variable day, nothing like yesterday where we had moderate to heavy rain for most of the day,” said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “We’ll see some sun, then some showers. Nothing too organized.”

The weather service has issued a flash flood watch for all of Los Angeles County through the afternoon, and a winter storm warning for the mountain areas until 6 p.m., Bartling said.

Rock slides shut down Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Malibu

 (Caltrans)
(Caltrans)

Topanga Canyon Boulevard was closed to traffic on Sunday because of rock slides, and transit officials said it could take up to three days for the road to reopen.

The California Highway Patrol said the road was closed from Pacific Coast Highway to Grand View Drive, a roughly 3.5-mile stretch. The closure will mostly force residents of Topanga, a bohemian enclave in the Santa Monica Mountains, to travel in and out of the area from the San Fernando Valley.

Photos of the road posted by Caltrans show boulders, small rocks and dirt over a segment of the two-lane road.

The city of Malibu said that Malibu Canyon Road remained closed in both directions.

Debris and mud were also reported around Pacific Coast Highway and Puerco Canyon Road, where motorists were advised to use caution. Mud and rocks were also reported on PCH at Carbon Canyon Road, city officials said.

Heavy snow forces closure of I-80 in the Sierra Nevada

Westbound traffic on Interstate 80 was closed at the Nevada border, and eastbound lanes were closed in Colfax. (California Highway Patrol)
Westbound traffic on Interstate 80 was closed at the Nevada border, and eastbound lanes were closed in Colfax. (California Highway Patrol)

Heavy snowfall on Sunday closed a roughly 70-mile stretch of Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada, halting a major thoroughfare between Reno and San Francisco.

The California Highway Patrol said the westbound lanes of the freeway were closed at the Nevada state line. Eastbound lanes were closed in Colfax, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, according to the CHP.

The freeway was estimated to reopen at 1:30 a.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

The National Weather Service said "crippling" amounts of snow were expected to coat the Sierra, with 2 to 4 feet of snow expected around Lake Tahoe. Elevations above 7,000 feet were expected to see 3 to 6 feet of snow by Monday.

The mixture of strong winds and heavy snowfall prompted authorities to issue an avalanche warning for the Sierra backcountry.

Earlier Sunday, the winter storm briefly forced the closure of Highway 395 between Bishop and June Lake, limiting access to Mammoth Mountain. The popular ski resort said all lifts were closed Sunday because of the intense storm.

L.A.'s rainfall since Oct. 1 — more than 13 inches — has been 216% of normal

Southern California has been mired in a six-year drought. But Sunday's storm is part of a larger shift toward wetter conditions that began last fall. Since October 1, downtown L.A. has received more than 13 inches of rain — 216% of normal rainfall for this period, which the National Weather Service said was 6.26 inches.

Officials said that much of the Southland remains in drought but that the storms of the last few days are helping.

Laurel Canyon closed again

Laurel Canyon Boulevard was closed in Hollywood Hills at Kirkwood Drive because of a downed tree.

Video shows firefighters rescuing motorists stranded in flooded intersection

Sunday's storm brought record rainfall to Long Beach and left scores of intersections flooded.

No injuries were reported. But Long Beach fire officials said they did rescue a few people who got stranded in the water.

So far, so good in burn areas

In the Duarte burn area, many residents decided to stay in their homes home, despite mandatory evacuation orders. Rudy Fuentes, an elementary school teacher, said he stayed behind to protect his home in case things really got out of hand, though he said, "I hope it doesn't come to that."

His driveway was covered in about two inches of mud from Friday's rains and mudflow, and he tied plywood across the driveway to protect it. He's also got sandbags and, on Friday, and he and his son dug a couple of trenches.

"We just decided to stick it out," Fuentes said.

Jerry Katz, a 25-year resident of the neighborhood, wasn't worried at all. He didn't put down sandbags or dig trenches. He blamed nervous lawyers for the city's orders to leave.

"The real problem is I can't take my son to Cheesecake Factory tonight," Katz said.

Orange County officials remained on guard, particularly in Silverado Canyon, which is still recovering from a fire in 2014. Extra emergency crews have been brought in to help, including a bulldozer operator and two additional swift-water rescue teams.

“The ground still remains pretty saturated and … it can be problematic,” said Capt. Alan Wilkes of the Orange County Fire Authority.

Cliff collapses in Santa Barbara County; residents evacuated

The collapsed cliff was reported in the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista. (Handout / Dave Zaniboni, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
The collapsed cliff was reported in the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista. (Handout / Dave Zaniboni, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

A cliff and a patio collapsed into the ocean Sunday afternoon in Isla Vista as a powerful rainstorm walloped California’s coast.

The collapse forced officials to evacuate 15 to 20 residents of oceanfront apartment units, according to Gina DePinto, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara County.

Fire officials received the call about 5 p.m. No injuries were reported, and the American Red Cross was expected to help displaced residents find shelter.

Building inspectors were dispatched to assess the stability of the cliff as well as the homes and buildings around the bluff, DePinto said.

Storms generate 34-foot wave, a new record for Central California coast

The latest storms to hit California have broken records.

According to the National Weather Service, monster surf on Saturday set a new wave height record for the Monterey Bay: 34.12 feet.

The previous record was 32.8 feet, set in 2008.

High surf was also reported across the Central Coast and north of San Francisco.

The powerful surf smashed the remains of a famed concrete ship, the S.S. Palo Alto, in the Monterey Bay town of Aptos.

Long Beach sets all-time rainfall record; widespread flooding across Southern California

A powerful storm dumped record-breaking rainfall in parts of Southern California, flooding freeways and numerous surface streets.

Southern Los Angeles County was particularly hard hit, with dozens of streets flooded from the Palos Verdes Peninsula through Long Beach and into Orange County.

The National Weather Service said Long Beach Airport set an all-time rain record at 3.87 inches. Other parts of Southern California, including LAX, set new records for the day.

Wind gusts top 80 mph

Heavy winds and rain pushed trees onto roadways.

Sepulveda Tunnel at LAX closed, causing airport traffic woes

The Sepulveda Tunnel, a key route in and out of Los Angeles International Airport, was closed by flooding until further notice.

Officials urged motorists to use other routes.

2 rescued from rising floodwaters in Wilmington

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel rescued two people stranded by floodwater Sunday in Wilmington at Pacific Coast Highway and Pine Creek Lane.

Dramatic scenes in Malibu hills

The Malibu area was hit hard by the storm. Topanga Canyon Road was closed, and mudslides and debris were reported on other roads in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Mudflows intensify in Duarte burn area

One of the biggest concerns for this flood is mudflow in areas burned by recent wildfires.

A hillside community in Duarte was hit by mudflows during Friday's storm and is being hit again on Sunday.

Several areas in Santa Clarita, Orange County and Santa Barbara have been evacuated due to risk from mudflows.

Rains bring a Disneyland miracle: small crowds, short lines

At Disneyland, heavy rains poured as a flash flood warning was issued as the sparse number of guests hid under the   monorail.

Some guests were clearly unprepared for the rain — wearing jeans, sneakers and hoodies, with some even without an umbrella — while some parents came with rain gear and covered strollers in clear, waterproof plastic.

Some rides were not operational. But the visitors who did come enjoyed short lines — less than half an hour for Hyperspace Mountain, compared with lines that typically can last for two hours. Lines for Space Mountain lasted only 10 minutes.

And selling briskly were light saber umbrellas that glowed, despite a hefty price tag of $65.

A big seller: $10 ponchos.

Freeways and roads inundated by water; flash flood warnings issued

The 110 Freeway near the Carson Street exit on Sunday afternoon. (Christina House / For The Times)
The 110 Freeway near the Carson Street exit on Sunday afternoon. (Christina House / For The Times)

Numerous roads around Southern California have been flooded by sustained bursts of intense rain. The 710 Freeway flooded near Pacific Coast Highway, and the 110 Freeway experienced high water near Torrance. Several surface streets were also blocked by standing water and fallen trees.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for the South Bay, the L.A. Harbor area, Long Beach, Anaheim and Santa Ana through 4:30 p.m.

A warning about the L.A. River during the rain

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works on Twitter is reminding people to stay away from flood control channels, such as the L.A. River, during rain storms.

Because this is what it looks like in Universal City:

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
74°