Metrolink service in Antelope Valley slowed or canceled after flash floods damage tracks

Flash floods from a heavy storm cell have delayed train service to the Antelope Valley, Metrolink officials announced Friday morning.

Speed restrictions were in place for multiple Antelope Valley lines and the tracks between Via Princessa and Lancaster were completely closed. Trains 200 and 202 between Lancaster and Los Angeles’ Union Station were canceled Friday.

The issues popped up after heavy rain and thunderstorms swept across the high desert Thursday evening and flooded Acton.

A helicopter rescue team hoisted one man to safety as muddy water flowed down the roadway, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Gustavo Medina. Aerial video showed the motorist sitting on top of his black truck, water up to its wheels, before the rescue.

Some people were stuck at a pharmacy because of extreme flooding, while others reported being trapped in their cars in knee-high water.

“All the roadways look like a lake,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Anthony Gunn, warning commuters to avoid attempting to drive through moving water. “If possible, [do] not drive anywhere at this point.”

The flooding forced a Metrolink train carrying about 250 commuters to turn around before reaching the Vincent Grade/Acton station. On its way back to the Via Princessa station in Santa Clarita, the train was halted when floods affected another segment of the track.

“They were getting pretty anxious,” Gunn said of the commuters. “They were concerned about being on the train due to what they were seeing through the windows.”

Authorities began receiving reports of flooding about 5 p.m. According to the California Highway Patrol, two to three feet of mud and water had collected, forcing closures on several major roadways.

Crown Valley Road was closed from Soledad Canyon Road to the 14 Freeway. Part of Soledad Canyon Road was also closed. Metrolink shut down the railroad tracks as police diverted traffic.

As “copious amounts" of monsoonal moisture brought heavy rain and thunderstorms across the mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, weather officials warned residents to prepare for dangerous flash floods.

Areas recently burned by wildfires were particularly susceptible to flash flooding and debris flows.

Earlier this week, thunderstorms wreaked havoc across the Inland Empire and prompted a flash-flood warning in the Antelope Valley in Los Angeles County.

Strong winds knocked down power lines in Azusa and massive trees in San Bernardino County. Rain caused flooding on highways and neighborhoods throughout San Diego and Riverside counties as other communities were pounded by nickel-sized hail. In San Bernardino, a palm tree caught fire during a lightning storm.

In Huntington Beach, lightning strikes forced officials to briefly evacuate the city beach during the U.S. Open of Surfing.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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