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‘Catastrophic, life-threatening’ flooding expected in Orange County, Inland Empire

Rain is seen along the coast on Sunday in Malibu.
Rain thrashes Malibu on Sunday.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
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The forecast for California’s monster storm just got worse for Orange County, the Inland Empire and mountain communities.

The biggest concern is Monday, when the storm is expected to have its strongest impact.

Orange County, Inland Empire

The National Weather Service now warns of “locally catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” for those areas, stating that “the system will stall, bringing heavy rain through Monday afternoon.”

Officials warned that the rainfall in Orange County and western Inland Empire areas could be “torrential.”

Anaheim, Irvine and Ontario could get 5 to 7 inches; San Clemente and San Bernardino could get 4 to 5; and Riverside and Lake Elsinore, 3 to 4.

Orange County issued an evacuation warning Sunday night for areas in the Santa Ana Mountains, including along sections of the Santiago, Silverado, Williams, Modjeska, Trabuco, Live Oak, Rose, Holy Jim and Black Star canyons, as well as around Irvine Lake.

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San Bernardino Mountains

Heavy snow could cause power outages and ramp up traffic danger in the mountains. “Heavy wet snow” is expected Monday evening into Tuesday, forecasters said.

Chilling rain, swirling gray clouds and blustery winds rolled into Southern California on Sunday as what was anticipated as the strongest storm of the season promised near-record rainfall and flash flooding through Tuesday.

Feb. 5, 2024

Strong winds could be powerful enough to topple tree limbs and make driving difficult for high-profile vehicles. There could be gusts of up to 55 mph in the high desert and up to 75 mph in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The bigger picture

The changing forecast came as the storm moved south, walloping Los Angeles County and the heart of Southern California.

The forecast for Los Angeles County became more severe Sunday, with rainfall totals generally rising by about 2 inches. It’s now possible that Pasadena could see up to 10 inches of rain; Northridge, Pomona and Santa Clarita could get 7; downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach and Westlake Village, 6; and Redondo Beach, 5.

Peak wind gusts could be between 30 and 40 mph in downtown L.A., Long Beach, Pasadena and Pomona; 40 to 50 mph in Northridge and Redondo Beach; and nearly 60 mph in Santa Clarita and Westlake Village.

Officials have urged people to stay off roads if possible Monday.

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