High risk for flash flooding issued for parts of Ventura County, as Topanga area preps for mudslides

NOAA only issues these "rare high risks" 4% of the year.

Jaysha Patel Image
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Rare high risk for flash flooding issued for parts of Ventura County
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Residents in parts of Ventura County are being asked to prepare as the NOAA issued what was described as a "rare high risk" for flash flooding.

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- Residents in parts of Ventura County are being asked to prepare as the NOAA issued what was described as a "rare high risk" for flash flooding.

The high risk, which NOAA said is only issued 4% of the year, covers from Ventura County north to Santa Barbara County and north to Big Sur. Officials said 40% of all flood related deaths and 80% of all flood related damage happen during these "high risk" instances.

Many are in prep mode Tuesday as another powerful storm is expected to slam Southern California with potentially heavy rain. The storm is the latest in what has been a series of "atmospheric river'' events to douse the state.

WATCH | Officials plan for possible evacuations in Inland Empire

Eyewitness News was in Ventura County for most of Tuesday morning, where the rain would trickle in and out. However, crews are getting ready for the brunt of the storm.

"In preparation of this storm event, the Ventura County Fire Department has moved into a plan 2 flood and plan 2 staffing, and what that means is we have over 100 firefighters on duty, in addition to our normal staffing," said Andy VanSciver with VCFD. "That includes two swift water teams, three task forces of individuals that are hand crews that can respond to flooding issues. In addition, we've also staffed two type 3 fire engines, one in Piru area and another in Ojai area."

Caltrans it is prepared for the incoming rain as well, especially along the Pacific Coast Highway.

"We're out there making sure the roadways clear, making sure the culverts and drains are clear especially in canyon areas or mountain areas along the pch where they're susceptible to slides," said Marc Bischoff, a public information officer for Caltrans in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.

Ventura County is expecting about 2 to 4 inches of rain to the coast and valley areas, and 3 to 6 inches for the mountain and foothill areas.

Meanwhile, the Topanga Canyon area in Los Angeles County is prepared for heavy rain and the possibility of mudslides causing damage to the community.

"Down by the S-turns going to the PCH, which is the worst part," said Bob Szolnoki of Topanga Canyon. "We've had a slide there already, a couple this year. And up on Fernwood, where I live, we've had some slides. So yeah, it's always a concern, the mudslides."

According to Ventura County's incident information website, evacuation warnings are in effect until Tuesday at 10 p.m. for the following areas due to the potential for flooding and/or debris flow:

  • South Matilija Road, Matilija Springs Area - Camino Cielo
  • North Fork Springs Road
  • Creek Road/Old Creek Road
  • Camp Chaffee Road / Casitas Vista Road Area
  • Select residences in the 700 block of Grada/Trueno Avenue due to a damaged storm drain

Evacuation warnings are in effect until Wednesday at 9 a.m. for the following areas:

  • Ventura Beach RV Resort

Evacuation warnings are in effect until Thursday at 10 a.m. for following areas:

  • Piru Canyon Road from Northeast Piru to Lake Piru

READ MORE: Storm surge slams through Ventura Harbor, destroying docks and damaging boats