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More rain, snow with Southern California storms

March 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
With two more storms rolling into Southern California, the danger is not over in threatened hillside areas.

A winter weather advisory was in effect late Wednesday afternoon with 5 to 10 inches of snow expected in the high country in areas over 5,000 feet with southern winds gusting from 20 to 30 mph. The advisory was expected to last until Thursday morning.

Motorists were warned of possible travel delays along the Grapevine on Interstate 5 at 4,000 feet elevation, as well as the Cajon Pass on the 15 Freeway also at 4,000 feet elevation. That stretch of highway remained opened through late Wednesday night.

In Frazier Park, heavy snow knocked out power, hitting the Pine Mountain Club community particularly hard.

Southern California Edison said more than 4,000 customers were without power at one point, and many may not get it back until Friday. Heavy snow fell west of Frazier Park in higher elevations.

While some Californians are dealing with snow, much of the Southland was pounded by rain over the weekend.

In Pacoima, the rain flooded streets and caused plenty of traffic accidents. Residents said it was the longest sustained rainfall periods in one day they can recall.

Wednesday, there is worry about more rainfall on hillsides that are still saturated from the weekend storm.

The heavy downpour in the San Fernando Valley raised concerns that it could trigger mudslides.

In Woodland Hills, several homes remained yellow tagged as of Wednesday morning after more than a foot of mud overflowed from nearby hillsides and overwhelmed backyards.

The mud stopped in the backyards and did not enter homes, and that is the hope again with the next storm.

Workers at one of the homes affected by Sunday's torrential rain were covering a steep hillside with sheets of plastic.

By Wednesday evening, the crew had scooped about 15,000 pounds of mud out of the homeowner's backyard.

"We would've been more concerned if we didn't have the plastic up, but now that the plastic is up?she should be able to make it through these next three days of rain," said Michael Medina, the crew's supervisor.

The storm system was creeping down the coast and hit Santa Barbara and Ventura County with some drizzle early Monday. The system was on the move, expected to arrive over the bulk of Southern California between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. About half-an-inch of rain was expected in the foothills near the recent wildfire burn areas and just under half an inch for parts of Orange County.

Wednesday night, showers were expected to pick up momentum and another half an inch of rain was to fall in the Los Angeles area, with similar rain totals for parts of Orange County and Inland Empire.

This second storm is expected to be much less intense than the weekend system, but since the ground is already saturated, we could see more downed trees and debris flows.

The rain would be fairly continuous heading into the weekend with temperatures hovering in the low 60s. The valleys and Inland Empire can expect similar conditions.