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Gov. Brown declares state of emergency after storms cause flooding, erosion, highway damage

Topanga Canyon Boulevard is closed in Malibu as crews work to clear giant boulders and shore up the hillside.

After another round of heavy rains soaked parts of California, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Monday for several counties dealing with an estimated tens of million dollars in damage from flooding, erosion, and mud flows.

The governor's order cited the destruction to roads and highways from the so-called atmospheric river that has pummeled Southern California, the Central Coast, the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area since early January. A second emergency declaration was also issued for a spate of Northern California counties battered by rainstorms.

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The emergency order clears the way for requesting federal emergency assistance funds for highway repairs and reconstruction.

The rains that deluged Southern California over the weekend continued Monday, with showers punctuated by bursts of sunshine. Hail was reported in Burbank and snow was anticipated in the Antelope Valley.

The storm, which forecasters said was the strongest in several years, set new rainfall records on Sunday and caused widespread flooding after several hours of sustained, pouring rain. Monday's rain was not as intense as it was over the weekend.

“Today’s going to be more of a variable day, nothing like yesterday where we had moderate to heavy rain for most of the day,” said Bonnie Bartling, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “We’ll see some sun, then some showers. Nothing too organized.” 

The storm system was winding down Monday night, forecasters said, with isolated showers expected on Tuesday. A dry period was forecast to begin Wednesday, with temperatures gradually warming into the 60s by the weekend.

In Malibu, Topanga Canyon Boulevard was closed in both directions early Monday from Pacific Coast Highway to Grand View Drive because of rock slides, according to the California Highway Patrol. There was no estimated time for the reopening of the boulevard.

Malibu Canyon Road also remained closed near Piuma Road on Monday because of rock slides, according to the CHP.

Flooding on Sunday had caused the closure of portions of the the 110 Freeway in Carson and the 710 Freeway in Long Beach, but all lanes of both roadways were opened by Monday morning, according to the CHP.

The storms have caused trees and branches to fall on power lines, which was a major cause of power outages, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. On Monday afternoon, there were about 9,000 customers without power because of storm-related issues, the utility said on Twitter.

Farther north, the Sierra Avalanche Center on Monday issued an avalanche advisory for all elevations surrounding Lake Tahoe, which was set to last through at least Tuesday morning.

The Duarte Unified School District announced Monday that Valley View Elementary School would be closed for the day due to the threat of mudslides.

Over the weekend, evacuation orders were issued for communities hit by wildfires last year, including Glendora, Duarte, Silverado Canyon in Orange County and parts of Santa Barbara County.  As of Sunday night, most of the hillsides had held up, to the relief of anxious homeowners.

Long Beach Airport set a new all-time rainfall record at 3.97 inches, beating out the previous all-time daily record of 3.75 inches in January 1995, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday's rainfall also broke at least two daily precipitation records. Los Angeles International Airport received 2.94 inches of rain Sunday, surpassing the previous record of 1.94 inches set on Jan. 22, 1983. Camarillo, which got 2.79 inches of rain Sunday, beat the previous daily record of 1.06 inches of rain set on Jan. 22, 1997.