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SoCal storm topples trees, brings down roofs

The rain and wind brought on by the latest storm is causing damage across SoCal from downed trees to collapsed roofs.

March 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The heavy rain and high winds brought on by the latest storm is causing widespread damage across Southern California from downed trees to collapsed roofs.

Storm damage

In Garden Grove, a 25-feet-by-40 feet section of roof collapsed in a building within an industrial complex. The broken section of roof hit a water pipe which triggered the sprinkler system. Nearly 5 inches of water accumulated inside the structure.

This wasn't the only roof collapse as a result of the storm. In Granada Hills, the roof of a Big Lots store partially collapsed. It created a mess of water and debris all over the floor, but fortunately, no one was injured.

There were many hillsides giving way in parts of the San Fernando Valley.

In Long Beach, a tree fell onto a moving car in the 3200 block of Myrtle Avenue. The driver said he saw the tree coming but there was nothing he could do except hit the brakes.

"It went through the window and it almost hit me. You can see the branch right down the middle. I guess I got lucky that it didn't hit me," said the driver, Brian Ambriz. He was not injured in the incident.

Mother Nature also took its toll in Ventura County. A big swath of a parking lot along Borchard Road in Newbury Park was closed off due to a big pool of standing water.

Also, several trees came crashing down Sunday night and took out power lines along Borchard Road due to high winds.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department responded to more than 100 trees down in Thousand Oaks and Camarillo. In Meiners Oaks, a tree fell onto some power lines and sparked a house fire.

The county's rescue crews were busy over the weekend, airlifting more than 30 people to safety since the storm rolled in.

A tree in Thousand Oaks crushed the roof of a house, narrowly missing a young girl's bed.

In another area of Thousand Oaks, four men were trapped on the roof of an SUV after trying to cross a stream swollen with rain water. The county's swift water rescue team had to pull them to safety.

Power outages

The storm also caused power outages in Compton, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Oxnard, Saticoy, Ojai and Ventura.

Southern California Edison repair crews have been notified and were working to fix the problem, but they said repair would be delayed because the storm caused extensive equipment failure. As of 8 a.m., the utility said nearly 40,000 across Southern California were without power.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported that 15,000 customers were without power due to the storm. The LADWP said 3,100 were without power in Valley Glen, 1,600 in Vermont Vista, 1,200 in Cheviot Hills and 1,100 in Van Nuys.

It wasn't immediately clear when power would be restored.


In Woodland Hills, where at least 3 inches of rain fell Sunday, mud and debris threatened a retaining wall and forced the evacuation of 30 people, said Los Angeles Fire Department officials.

Evacuations began at about 7 p.m. Sunday near 4855 N. Regalo Rd., where the retaining wall is located. Six houses along that road were red-tagged, meaning they were not fit to be occupied. The tags were changed to yellow Monday morning, and residents were allowed back in their homes. They returned to find a muddy mess.

"Larger chunks of mud started to fall," said homeowner Jeff Gilbert. "It became a nightmare. It just kept coming and coming and coming and my neighbors all came over and we were trying to shovel the mud and try and let it out so it wouldn't go against the house, but it just became futile."

Gilbert's backyard was steeped in 12 to 14 inches of mud.

There is still concern about sliding hillsides in the neighborhood with more rain anticipated later in the week. Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said the area was not prepared for such a tremendous downpour and that sandbags will soon be available so residents can protect their homes.

"We didn't have any structural damage but we did have mud seep into the homes through open windows, through cracks and little voids in the structure itself," said Capt. Jamie Moore of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

School closures

The storm dumped snow in the local mountains, prompting several school closures. Schools in the Bear Valley Unified School District and The Rim of the World School District were closed Monday. All schools in the Snowline Joint Unified School District were also closed Monday.

Due to heavy snow, all schools in the Rim of the World Unified School District in San Bernardino County were scheduled to be closed again Tuesday.

Storm track

The wet weather system rolled in from the north early Sunday, dumping 2.42 inches in downtown Los Angeles, 1.22 inches in Long Beach, 3.85 inches in Burbank, 4.91 inches in Camarillo, 3 inches in Ventura, 4.5 inches in Thousand Oaks and 2.36 inches in Los Angeles International Airport. Nearly 5 to 7 inches of rain fell in the foothills, where flood warnings were issued in the areas affected by wildfires in recent years.

By early Monday, the nasty weather was moving out of the region and flood advisories were canceled for Los Angeles County, but the National Weather Service warned that debris flows and flash flooding in some areas were still possible.

Showers were expected to continue throughout Monday with temperatures lingering in the chilly 50s and low 60s for the Los Angeles Metro area. Tuesday will see a short break from the rain, but more rain is expected for Wednesday into Friday.