As Southland braces for storm, evacuations urged in some areas

Evacuations called for some Southern Californians in advance of #hellastorm

Even the lifeguard towers have been brought in from the expected tides and strong surf.

As a powerful storm system swept into Southern California on Thursday night, bringing the potential for up to 4 inches of rain and wind gusts as high as 70 mph, communities and public agencies were preparing for the worst with road closures, evacuation orders and emergency shelters.

The brunt of the storm is expected to hit Los Angeles at 3 a.m. and dump up to 1 inch per hour until about 7 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The mix of high winds and a heavy downpour could result in power outages and send debris into roadways, while the surf could top 12 feet on west-facing beaches.

“Do not underestimate moving water, do not underestimate mud flows, and do not underestimate downed power lines,” warned Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby.

County fire and emergency management officials took “extreme precautions,” adding staff for search-and-rescue teams, putting bulldozers on standby to clear down trees, and offering free sandbags at county fire stations, Osby said.

Perhaps no community was more prepared than Glendora, where some residents were urged Thursday to evacuate from their homes as the foothill community braced for possible mud flows.

“It doesn’t mean we’re going into their residences or [forcing] them to leave, but we’re going to strongly advise for their safety, they should leave their residences,” Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab said about the mandatory evacuation.

The small city has been especially vulnerable to mud flows during rain storms since the Colby Fire in January seared about 1,900 acres nearby. Four feet of mud smashed into a Glendora home in a Nov. 21 rainstorm.

An evacuation shelter has been set up, and the city had about 15,000 sandbags available Thursday to fortify homes and businesses. At least one Glendora school, Goddard Middle School, canceled Friday classes.

Elsewhere, officials were monitoring other burn areas -- such as the Silverado fire in Orange County, the Cocos fire in San Diego County and the Mountain fire in Riverside County -- where the National Weather Service said flash floods and mud flows were likely.

In San Jacinto, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department ordered mandatory evacuations at an apartment complex and a synagogue in anticipation of mud flows from the Soboba foothills. Officials also closed a road abutting the Soboba foothills.

Because higher elevations will face stronger wind and heavier rain -- and locations above 7,000 feet could see up to 1 foot of snow -- several roads have been closed in the Angeles National Forest, including Crystal Lake Road and Glendora Ridge Road.

Access to Glendora Mountain Road is limited, and officials plan on using it as an evacuation route, said Loring Buchwald of the U.S. Forest Service.

Anticipating runoff from the Powerhouse Fire, officials closed Lake Hughes Road in Castaic for about 5 miles below Pine Canyon Road.

In the San Fernando Valley, the Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission opened the shelter’s doors four days earlier than planned to offer relief from the storm.

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

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