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Heavy Rain Spreads Across Los Angeles Basin

A spring storm moves into the area Sunday, but it should be dry and mostly sunny Monday.

A heavy band of rain moved across Los Angeles County on Sunday, and triggered warnings from the National Weather Service of possible localized ponding and flooding across the Southland.

Malibu and the Conejo and Santa Clarita valleys appeared to bear the brunt of the storm. Rockslides were reported on Mulholland Highway above Malibu, and some ramps and freeway lanes were flooding along the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway near Canyon Country.

The Auto Club 400 race at Fontana was called off at 258 miles into the 400-mile event, as the storm front moved into the Inland Empire by midafternoon. Tony Stewart was declared winner of the rain-shortened event.

Snow was reported on Interstate 5 over the Grapevine at midafternoon, but CHP officers said it was not sticking and the key freeway link remained open --if sodden. Several spinouts and minor crashes were reported along the freeway.

An urban stream flooding advisory was issued for the far-western end of Los Angeles County at 10:10 a.m., and extended a little further east as the front progressed at midday. At 12:57 p.m., it was extended to include the front slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains at La Canada-Flintridge, Sunland-Tujunga and Lake View Terrace.

But county flood experts said they did not expect mudflows from the Station Fire burned slopes.

"Rainfall rates over Malibu were around one half inch per hour," the NWS office in Oxnard said. It predicted widespread ponding and intersection flooding as the band of rain moved east into Los Angeles.

Steady rain may last for 3-5 hours, then taper off in the afternoon, according to the NWS.

"We've got a pretty narrow frontal band," said NWS Meteorologist Dave Bruno. "It'll probably rain for 3-5 hours, stop, then start up again in the afternoon."

Winds will be out of the southeast at 15-25 mph, and temperatures will top out around 60 degrees.

Thunderstorms are possible after the low-pressure front passes, and the Los Angeles Basin should get a half-inch to an inch of rain by the time the storm moves east. The seasonal total dating from July 1 is 5.98 inches, about 45 percent of normal for this time of year, which is 13.29 inches, Bruno said.

"Hopefully, we'll make up for some of that today," he said. "But as far as the season goes, it's not looking great."

Los Angeles typically gets about 15 inches of rain per year, most of it December-March.

The higher the elevation, the higher the rainfall amounts, Bruno said. Some of the south-facing San Gabriel Mountain foothills could get up to 2 inches of rain.

Eight to 15 inches of snow is expected at elevations of about 6,000 feet or more, and that should add a few days to Southern California's foreshortened skiing and snowboarding season due to a lack of snow. Some snow should fall at elevations as low as about 4,500 feet.

Monday should be dry and mostly sunny, with highs in the upper 60s.

-City News Service

Bob Henderson March 26, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Thanks for the update. I might not have noticed the rain, unless I looked outside.
Paul Chavez (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Your welcome, Bob. Thanks for reading Patch.

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