Powerful storm could bring tornadoes, waterspouts to Southern California

A powerful storm pummeling Northern California with heavy rain and wind gusts of more than 100 mph could bring isolated waterspouts and small tornadoes to the Southern California coast.

The storm is expected to reach the area at about 1 a.m. Friday and last only until about 6 a.m. The head of the storm, bringing the most rainfall and isolated thunderstorms, will last about four hours, said meteorologist Scott Sukup of the National Weather Service.

"The real action starts tonight," he said.

As the storm approaches, isolated waterspouts and small tornadoes are possible late Thursday to early Friday along the coast, the National Weather Service reported.


Off Los Angeles County, surf could reach 9 feet with sets of up to 12 feet on west-facing beaches. The Central Coast could see monster surf as forecasters predicted sets could reach 25 feet.

Coastal and valley communities could receive 1 to 2 inches of rain. But the foothills and mountains are expected to see 2 to 4 inches.

In Southern California, wind gusts may not reach 107 mph as they did northwest of Lake Tahoe, but they are likely to carry a powerful punch.

Gusts could reach 80 mph in the mountains and foothills, forecasters say. Communities along the coast and in the valleys are expected to receive wind gusts of up to 45 mph.

Communities above 7,000 feet could get 6 to 12 inches of snow. Lower-elevation communities also could seem some snow accumulation.

A flash-flood warning goes into effect at midnight in the recent burn areas, and authorities have told residents to prepare for evacuations.

In Riverside County, sheriff's officials ordered mandatory evacuations in parts of San Jacinto after mud flows threatened their homes last week. Residents of the Valley View apartments at 20520 Highway 79 and the Hemecinto Sholom Center/Temple Beth Am must evacuate by 4 p.m. Thursday.

"Road closures and evacuation orders will remain in place until such time it is deemed safe for residents to return to their homes and roadways are drivable," Deputy Alberto Martinez said.

The incoming storm prompted the city of Glendora to raise its disaster alert level to red starting at 10 p.m. Thursday, forcing mandatory evacuations for residents in the Colby fire impact area.

The January fire scorched the foothill community, making it vulnerable to floods and mudslides, and last month during heavy rains, 4 feet of mud plowed into a Glendora home.

The city set up a shelter for residents and has offered sandbags to residents near the burn site. Goddard Middle School in Glendora also canceled classes for Friday.

Fearing more flooding and debris flows in the Camarillo Springs burn area, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services issued a voluntary evacuation alert for residents.

Staff at Pacoima's Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission opened the shelter's doors four days earlier than planned to provide relief from the storm.

For breaking news throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA