LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Residents across Southern California Wednesday braced for a third rainstorm of the season.
According to the National Weather Service, strong winds and moderate to heavy rainfall with a chance for thunderstorms is expected throughout the day.
The heaviest rainfall is expected to occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., triggering between a half-inch and an inch of rain per hour, meteorologists added.
In total, between 2 and 3.5 inches of rain is predicted to fall across the coastal and valley areas, and up to 5 inches falling in the mountains.
As of 9 a.m., more than 1,300 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers are without power as a result of the storm, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Meanwhile, Camarillo Springs residents living in pre-identified homes prepared for voluntary evacuations this morning.
Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm theme parks will be closed today due to inclement weather, City News Service reported. Disneyland and Universal Studios will remain open for business.
According to the Ventura Police Department, Harbor Boulevard between Sanjon Road and the pier will remain closed until further notice due to flooding in the area.
On Tuesday, flash flooding and flows of mud and debris were a concern, especially in places left barren by last year’s wildfires. Residents of the Silverado Canyon burn area in Orange County and the Solimar burn area in Ventura County were urged to consider evacuating.
In Orange County, a homeless man in his 40s was swept off his feet by swift waters and washed nearly a mile down Brea Creek in Buena Park before he pulled himself out, county fire Capt. Steve Concialdi said. He was treated at a hospital for scraped feet and arms.
Rocks fell on the roadway through Malibu Canyon, damaging four vehicles and clogging a heavily traveled commuter route through the steep Santa Monica Mountains, and Los Angeles police were rousting the homeless from normally dry riverbeds.
As steady and sometimes heavy rains fell, Garcetti urged people to clear gutters and anything in their yards that might clog storm drains, and to stockpile sandbags if their home is susceptible to flooding.
Garcetti also said that the city’s homeless encampments have been mapped for the first time, and he promised shuttles to bring people to shelters with 6,000 beds.
Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said swift-water rescue teams are ready, but he’d rather not deploy them. Authorities hope to avoid a repeat of last September’s rescue of a homeless man who scrambled up a tree with his dog when the Los Angeles River quickly grew to a torrent.
The storms whipped up large ocean swells that could generate hazardous breaking waves at west-facing harbors. Ventura’s Harbor Boulevard was closed Tuesday by flooding about a foot deep, police there said.
The current El Nino — a natural warming of the central Pacific Ocean that interacts with the atmosphere and changes weather worldwide — has tied 1997-1998 as the strongest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center said, citing statistics that go back to 1950.
El Ninos usually bring heavy rains to California, although it remains to be seen whether people should expect anything like a repeat of 1997 and 1998, when storms killed 17 people, wiped out crops, washed out highways and pushed houses down hillsides.
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