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Southern California storm updates: Snow where it's needed; 2 inches of rain in parts

The storm that disrupted life in Northern California earlier this week made its way down to Southern California early Friday morning, with downpours that caused the Los Angeles River to swell and snow in Ventura and Kern counties. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in Orange County, and homes across the region were damaged by mud flows.

A final note: What the precipitation will and won't do for California

The recent rains have helped boost the Sierra snow pack. As of Friday, it had climbed to 40%.

Water officials have maintained that significant storms such as last week’s drenching and this week's downpour would need to continue throughout the winter to make a significant impact on the drought.

The Department of Water Resources measures precipitation at eight stations in the Northern Sierra, which had recorded 18.3 inches of precipitation as of Friday morning or 145% of normal, according to department data. DWR experts have said the state would need about 75 inches of rain by the end of the water year (Sept. 30) to end the drought.

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More stats from the storm

Wind gusts topped out at 89 mph today.

There was a 5-minute waterspout off the coast near LAX.

10 homes were condemned and three more only had limited access in Camarillo Springs.

Between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. Friday, about 2 inches of rain dropped onto Ventura County.

124 homes were ordered evacuated ahead of Friday morning’s storm. As of noon, 10 were red-tagged and 3 yellow-tagged.

Read more stats and power outage numbers

Calm in Silverado Canyon

Big Bear gets a blanket of snow

Depleted snowpack gets help

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

This week's heavy rains are expected to aid California in one of the places it needs the most help: the depleted Sierra snowpack.

Forecasters told state water officials that the storm is expected to add several feet of snow in parts of the Sierra. The state’s snowpack is important because when it melts during the summer months, the water can replenish reservoirs.

--Matt Stevens

The #PineappleExpress that hit California

Along a winding Silverado Canyon road

The winding Silverado Canyon road is a two-lane road that narrows as you head deeper into the canyons.

Small wooden and rustic homes line one side of the road while other homes, some large, sit across the creek. A bridge is needed at times to get from the road to the other homes.

At the Silverado Fire Station, sand, shovels and orange bags sit along the side of the building. Stacks of hay also sits near the orange sand bags.

Many homes have placed both hay and sand bags along the mouth of their driveways to prevent the water that was collecting near their homes.

Just past 30311 Silverado Canyon Road, a beige, two story, stucco building, are K rails lined up along the canyon to prevent mud from spilling into the road.

CHP and crews make regular patrols every 30 minutes, checking on the homes and roads.

--Ruben Vives

The mudslide threat

Pulled from L.A. River

The worst is over, SoCal

It was almost exactly what we expected it to be.

meteorologist John Dumas

By late morning, the storm had dumped 2 inches of water along the coast and in the valleys, and 5 inches in the mountains and foothills. A billion gallons of that was captured by L.A. County.

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Woman rescued from river

Rescuers find woman in river

Rocks plunged down, striking their car

Natalie Hogan was riding in the back seat of her boyfriend's Saturn along PCH early Friday morning when huge rocks and mud suddenly plunged toward their car.

The musicians and a friend were driving north to Oxnard after a Long Beach gig and were near the county line between L.A. and Ventura counties when large rocks fell, hitting the bottom of their car. Hogan said the rocks nearly came up through the floor of the vehicle.

She said the rain was falling so hard they couldn't see anything. The car stopped and all they could hear was the sound of pounding rain and rocks tumbling down the hill.

"We knew we couldn't stay in the car in case the whole hill came down."

They got out of the car and began walking, eventually making it to Neptune's Net, a local fish restaurant where fire officials found them.

--Amanda Covarrubias

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Man rescued, wife can be heard

Los Angeles firefighters have pulled a man from the Los Angeles River and are still trying to rescue his wife.

The man had not suffered injuries but was hypothermic.

Bystanders who had been standing on the riverbank could hear the woman yelling occasionally from the river as rescue crews searched among thick trees partially submerged in the fast-moving water.

--Hailey Branson-Potts

Nothing but net

Scenes from the river

River rescue

Fire trucks and at least five rescue helicopters were at the Los Angeles River in Atwater Village amid reports that people may have been clinging to a tree in the raging water.

The LAFD reported one person had been rescued but crews were still searching for a second person.

A park ranger would not answer a reporter's questions, saying only to look out for anyone floating in the river.

--Cindy Chang

Morning showers turn to light sprinkles

Though city officials braced for heavy rain and mudslides, Glendora had relatively few effects from Friday's storm.

By mid-morning, the early morning showers were a light sprinkle. At the Crowther Teen and Family Center, the evacuation point for the city, there were more staff members than evacuees.

Throughout the night, the center hosted about nine people, said Lt. Matt Williams of the Glendora police department. Now, they're down to three still at the center, he said.

Williams said there are no reported injuries or reports of buildings impacted by rain or mud. The most important task now, he said, was to clean up the streets.

Only Hicrest Road was still closed, as of 10 a.m.

--Samantha Masunaga

Formula for disaster: Fire, rain, mudslides

Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Dozens of Southern California residents in burn areas in Camarillo Springs, Glendora and Azusa saw a treacherous scenario play out Friday as communities previously scorched by wildfire were hammered by a powerful storm.

The storm, the largest to hit the Southland in several years, once again brought devastation to areas charred by wildfire. With every significant rain, residents in these communities face the threat of rocks and debris flooding their homes. -- Veronica Rocha

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One person found

Roof collapse

Report of people clinging to trees

Storm closes few schools in Southern California

Despite destructive mud flows and widespread power outages from the powerful storm moving through Southern California Friday, few schools have been closed.

Sierra Madre Elementary School in the Pasadena Unified School District was closed due to a power outage, officials said.

School officials announced Thursday evening that Goddard Middle School in Glendora would be closed Friday, as evacuation orders were announced.

County education officials in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Ventura County reported no other known school closures.

--Christine Mai-Duc

Balcony collapses, no injuries

The wind and rain were so strong this morning that a second-story balcony on a mixed-use building in Long Beach partially collapsed, KTLA reported. The building houses a few residential units on the second story and businesses below. There were no injuries reported.

Reports of swift water rescue

Ray of light

'We're kind of getting used to it'

A steady stream of muddy water flowed down the side of Rainbow Drive in Glendora as Morgan Marich, 19, came outside her house around 8:30 a.m. to check on the reinforcements.

Sturdy pieces of wood, anchored to metal pipes, blocked the entrance to her driveway, while sandbags padded the ground behind the makeshift wall. Sandbags also lined the front of her house. Her pre-rain routine gets faster every time.

"I think we're kind of getting used to it," she said. "The routine of having to put everything up and go through the rain."

Sandbags and K-rails line the street in front of homes. Few neighbors are out as the rain continues its steady fall.

--Samantha Masunaga

Clearing up that fallen tree

Latest radar update

A slow day for musicians in Mariachi Plaza

At about 8:45 a.m., mariachi musicians Arturo Maier and Antonio Lopez trudged to a mostly empty Mariachi Plaza. Maier carried a blue plaid umbrella, Lopez carried a bright red, green yellow and blue umbrella. The men were wrapped in coats and scarves, but their crisp white button-up shirts showed underneath.

They looked around the plaza as they walked up. It was empty.

Maier said he didn't know if they'd get work today. They come out to the plaza usually every weekend to get playing gigs.

"No matter if it's raining, we need the work," said Maier, a guitar player.

A few other musicians began trickling in, trying to keep their black uniforms dry.

Around the plaza, standing water in the road splashed every time a car turned the corner.

Nearby, the L.A. river flowed rapidly under the 1st Street Bridge, the downtown skyline shrouded in cloud.

--Hailey Branson-Potts

Mud so high it half-buried his basketball hoop

Edward Heinlein, 66, points to a steel fence fortified with plywood.

"There it is," said the resident of Ridgeview Drive in Azusa. "That's the monster."

Heinlein points at a mass of mud that has taken over the upper part of his backyard. Tree trunks are halfway buried. A regulation basketball hoop is covered up with enough mud for Heinlein's 6-foot-tall daughter Amanda, 35, to grab the rim with ease.

Two hours ago, Heinline got the call for mandatory evacuations. His property sits at the foot of a giant mountain, burned by the Colby fire, that he says has almost a "straight down" incline. He started to pack his car.

He had tried to prepare: He replaced his fence with a stronger steel barrier, and got 400 sandbags to barricade the outside perimeter of his house. Behind the sandbags, he has plywood, covered in plastic sheeting.

But it might not be enough. He points to his stone wall, located just below the steel fence on the upper part of his property.

"It turns to Niagara Falls here with water and mud," he said.

The house is a retirement home for he and his wife. She has already evacuated to their daughter's home, and Heinlein said he may go to his son's home.

"We were hoping to get through Christmas," Heinlein said. "But we might have to move out."

--Samantha Masunaga

Tree at Vermont Avenue being cleared

Silverado Canyon: High risk area, mandatory evacuations

Shannon Widor, public information officer for the Emergency Operations Center, said about 60 homes are affected by the mandatory evacuation order that was issued early this morning.

Orange County Sheriff deputies are going door to door advising residents of the evacuation.

The evacuation affects the burn area east of 30311 Silverado Canyon Road.

"It is a high risk area from the September fire," Widor said.

He said crews with heavy equipment are on standby to respond to any area affected by today's storm.

--Ruben Vives

With the rain comes snow

L.A River swells

Traffic lights out

Mandatory evacuations in Orange County's Silverado Canyons burn area

Homes in burn areas in Orange County’s Silverado Canyon were ordered evacuated at about 5:45 a.m. because of the danger of flooding and debris flows. The mandatory evacuation was for homes east of 30311 Silverado Canyon Road, county emergency officials said.

Of particular worry were homes against steep slopes that were burnt during the Silverado Fire, which burned more than 1,500 acres in September. The blaze was caused by the sun reflecting off metal sheeting that had been put up to keep animals out of a vegetable garden.

Latest look at radar

Mud flows damage 8 homes in Camarillo Springs

At least eight homes in Camarillo Springs have suffered "significant damage" after walls of rocks, mud, and debris trapped some residents in their homes.

Ventura County firefighters said they responded to more than 30 calls about flooding overnight, and had to rescue several people who were trapped in their homes by the mud flows.

Photos from the scene showed homes buried in rocks several feet high, and piles of mud and debris.

Evacuations are in place in the area, which has large swaths of fire scarring from the 2013 Springs Fire.

City officials are assessing other homes for damage.

The commute is starting: Here's how to drive in the rain

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

Southern Californians got some practice with this during last week's storm, but a reminder never hurts.

Read on for Lauren Raab's collection of tips for driving in this kind of rain.

Read more

Here's what Glendora's debris basin looks like right now

Closed: PCH at Yerba Buena in Ventura

Pacific Coast Highway at Yerba Buena was closed in both directions in Ventura due to a mudslide, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A mud slide and low hanging power lines also forced the closure of Westlake Boulevard at Mulholland Highway.

Sheriff’s officials say the 30800 block of Agoura Road is flooded, and some drivers may not be able to pass through the area due to deep water.

--Veronica Rocha

'The mud hit my front door'

Bill Golubics was standing on his front porch in Camarillo Springs watching the rain come shortly after 2 a.m. when he heard a loud boom.

"The mud hit my front door and blew out the front window," he said.

Unable to get back in, he waited outside until firefighters came and too him to a Red Cross shelter.

"There was no way I could open the door," he said.

He says he knows his home, where he lives alone, will be red tagged. It's right next to the one that was red tagged after the Halloween debris flow.

He said the downpour was heavy before the hill behind his home on San Como Lane gave way.

"I've never seen rain come down that hard for 30 minutes," he said. He's 77 years old.

He said the street was "just filled with debris."

He had slept Thursday night in a recliner in his living room, fully clothed, thinking he would evacuate after it started raining.

"I didn't have time," he said.

--Amanda Covarrubias

Storm is felling trees

Amtrak temporarily suspends service

Amtrak has temporarily suspended service between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo due to “severe weather conditions."

Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight trains are being affected, and Amtrak is providing other transportation for Coast Starlight passengers between Los Angeles and points further north on the line, the rail service said.

Service between Los Angeles and San Diego is operating as normal.

Check for service alerts

69,100 without power in Southern California

In Southern California, 69,100 customers were without power.

PG&E has reported widespread outages after 6,400 customers in San Luis Obispo County, 2,800 in Santa Barbara County and 4,100 people in Kern County, spokesman J.D. Guidi said.

He said PG&E crews from Oregon, Washington and throughout California were working quickly to restore power.

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power reported that 11,800 customers from San Pedro to Granada Hills were without power, utility spokeswoman Terry Schneider said. The utility saw a surge in outages between 3:00 and 3:30 a.m., when strong rain and wind hit the area.

She said she expected the worst was over.

Southern California Edison crews were working to restore power to 44,000 customers from the Central Valley to the San Diego border, agency spokesman Robert Villegas said. At least 26,000 of those customers were in Los Angeles County.

“It’s a pretty fluid situation,” he said.

--Veronica Rocha

Road closures in L.A. County piling up

County of Los Angeles

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Backyard of an evacuating resident

Speed of storm may mean less damage

Bill Patzert, climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that although the storm did some damage, it also moved quickly and will probably not be a record-breaker.

Compare this one to the storm of December 2010, he said, when 10.23 inches of rain fell from Dec. 6 to 29, causing massive flooding.

“That one just kept coming. It was memorable,” he said. “This storm was like a 12-hour event. That was like a 12-day event.”

Although the storm is good for a region parched by years of drought, Patzert said it was important not to consider the recent rains a harbinger for the coming winter. He said after the powerful December rains of 2010, Southern California went dry.

By contrast, in December 1997 -- the massive El Niño year -- there was 2.52 inches of rain for the month. The heavy rains came in January, February and March, with a historic 13.68 inches of rain falling in February alone.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said there’s a chance of an El Niño forming in the Pacific this winter. But even if that happens, scientists said it would be a weak one. The driest year in L.A.’s recorded history in 2006-07 happened during one such El Niño.

Patzert said the greatest upside of the recent storms were for the northern and central Sierras, where places like Southern California get much of their water.

“They’re definitely getting snow. The snow season for a change got off to a fast start,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest thing regarding drought relief.”

--Hector Becerra

Muddy rescue

In Camarillo Springs, as many as 24 homes had been damaged by mud, and crews rescued some residents this morning who had not evacuated.

Evacuations ordered in Glendora but 'we're not done yet'

About five Glendora intersections and streets were closed earlier this morning because of the rains and some people around the Colby fire burn area were ordered to evacuate last night, said Tim Staab, spokesman for the Glendora Police Department.

Staab said he didn't have estimates on how many people have already evacuated.

"I would hope people would heed our advice," he said. "Because we're not done yet."

K-rails guarded homes along Rainbow Road near Sierra Madre Avenue as a small, but fast-moving stream of water rushed by.

Near a storm drain, David Fredendall, 59, checked for any tree branches or debris that might clog it.

Fredendall said he's been "sleeping lightly," and has been clearing any blockages he sees in the street since the heavy rains started around 1:30 am. He and some neighbors have already cleared cacti and rocks. He's had some experience with this -- he estimates that he's come out to clear blockages and avoid potential slides about six times since February.

He said he's staying home from work today because of the rains.

"I'm just kind of watching," he said. "We'll see what comes."

--Samantha Masunaga

How things unfolded: Streets flooding, trees falling

Light winds began to develop late Thursday night.

By midnight the gusty winds picked up speed, shaking street signs and leaves of swaying trees.

By 4 a.m., heavy rain began to pour down in Long Beach and the surrounding cities. The heavy downpour lasted several minutes. When it was over, the winds had died down. There was light rain.

Reports of street flooding, car accidents and two separate incidents of trees falling on a house and a car came through the police radio.

By 5 a.m., a second wave of heavy rain hit, but it was a short downpour.

Wet leaves and trash lay scattered on the streets of Long Beach as steady rain fell.

'The rocks were moving in the middle of the street. We just kind of watched.'

John Calka and his wife Connie were awakened about 2 a.m. this morning in their house by authorities when the rocks started rolling down their street.

John said the slide occurred in the same place it happened on Halloween.

"The rocks were 2 feet in diameter the rocks were moving in the middle of the street. We just kind of watched."

John, Connie and their golden retriever, Jake, were evacuated to the recreation center in their complex, which is for people 55 and over.

They just moved to the house this year and didn't expect this.

"This is a great place to live. What caused all this is the fire," John said.

He was referring to the fire in the hillsides in May 2013.

--Amanda Covarrubias

Mud, rocks and debris damage homes

At least six homes are flooded with mud, rocks and debris as the hill behind them came down Friday morning. A living room chair is in the front yard of one home and tires are scattered across the mud covered front yard. A carpet of mud and rocks and water is streaming down San Como Lane.

All the residents were evacuated this morning but bulldozers and tractors are trying to clear the area.

--Amanda Covarrubias

Power outages so far

A bad commute may be in the cards

The 710 Freeway is closed in both directions at Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach due to flooding and other problems seem to be on the way.

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