Deadly California parade of storms is not over yet: Downpours and heavy snowfall in higher elevations, forced evacuations in several burn areas, mudslides, floods… And the worse is to come


Evacuation warnings were issued Tuesday through Thursday for the community of Pulga at the Camp Fire burn scar near Paradise. In Southern California, mandatory evacuations went into effect for burn areas in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties Tuesday morning. The third system hit Monday, triggering mandatory evacuations in the Holy Fire burn scar area. In the higher elevations, snow caused spinouts and closed several highways temporarily. A home in Encino was damaged by a mudslide Tuesday. Three people were killed Tuesday in a weather-related crash.

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California parade of storms is not over yet. Map by The Weather Channel

The rains brought heavy rocks and mud onto roads in Malibu Canyon Tuesday night. “Luckily, it was non-commute time, so traffic wasn’t effected too heavily,” Ryan Row of the California Highway Patrol, told KABC-TV. “County roads is operating on 12-hour rotation shifts, clearing all the mountain roads away.

An Encino, California, home was damaged Tuesday when a mudslide tore through the structure, knocking it off its foundation. Fourteen other homes in the vicinity were placed under voluntary evacuation.

L.A. County sheriff’s deputies evacuated areas of Malibu Tuesday by knocking on doors to warn residents of the next dangerous round of storms.

Several thousand people were evacuated in Santa Barbara County, where a sudden debris flow last year swept through Montecito, killing 23 people and destroying 100 homes.

Northern California

Officials ordered all residents of a community northeast of Paradise, California, to leave their homes and get to higher ground as the next storm was expected to cause issues at a burn scar left behind by the most devastating wildfire in state history.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for the entire community of Pulga starting at 10 p.m. local time Tuesday night and lasting until Thursday morning because of the danger from possible flooding and debris flows at the Camp Fire burn scar. The evacuation warning did not include the town of Paradise, where more than 18,000 structures were destroyed and 86 people died in the blaze that burned in November.

A mudslide Wednesday morning caused significant traffic delays on Highway 101 in Sausalito. The road was cleared later in the morning.

Higher Elevations

Winter weather also caused issues in the higher elevations. Multiple spinouts along Interstate 80 temporarily closed the eastbound lanes over Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada Tuesday afternoon as the third of a parade of storm systems pushed inland.

On Wednesday, big rigs were being turned around at the pass in both directions because of dangerous conditions on the summit.

Southern California

Evacuations were also ordered in Southern California for the second day in a row, forcing out residents threatened by mudslides and debris flows.

Officials in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties issued mandatory evacuation orders, which went into effect Tuesday morning.

The evacuations in Los Angeles County became mandatory at 8 a.m. local time and impacted residents in a portion of the area burned by the Woolsey Fire in November. The fire burned more than 90,000 acres in and around Malibu, destroyed 1,500 structures and killed three people.

Santa Barbara County evacuations went into effect at 10 a.m. local time and impacted residents hit by three fires – the Sherpa, Whittier and Thomas fires – in the last three years.

I urge everybody to please assess your personal situation,” Malibu City Manager Reva Feldman told the Los Angeles Times. “You cannot escape mud flow. You cannot fight it. You need to be very careful and think this through. Please think this through and take care of your family.

A 3-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway near Huntington remained closed Wednesday in both directions because of heavy rain and flooding. Rainfall also caused a roof collapse at a Fountain Valley industrial complex Tuesday night. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Schools remained closed Wednesday in Malibu. Some schools in Ventura County were also closed because of the heavy rains.

On Monday morning, officials in Riverside County issued a “MUST GO” order for neighborhoods in the burn areas of August’s Holy Fire, stating the risk of debris flows at a moment’s notice. Those mandatory evacuations have since been downgraded to voluntary evacuations, though officials warned residents there to remain on alert.

But don’t worry, the worst is to come! More stormy weather is expected to hit the West Coast in the coming hours and days.

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[Evacuation order maps, The Weather Channel]


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