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Atmospheric River Storm Front Arrives In Southland, Rain Expected Through Friday

The Bond Fire burn scar in Orange County, along with the El Dorado and Apple Fire burn scars in San Bernardino County, are facing voluntary evacuation warnings.

By CBS Los Angeles , in Los Angeles , at December 23, 2021

original article published at

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Yet another atmospheric river was making its way into the Southland Thursday, bringing with it the risk of flooding and mudslides in wildfire burn areas.

Rain was falling in Ventura County early Thursday morning. CBSLA Meteorologist Alex Biston said the heavy rain would begin to hit Los Angeles County early Thursday afternoon.

“The heavier rain continues into the overnight hours, into early Friday morning. Now it’s by Friday afternoon that we finally start to dry out,” Biston said. “Still some spots of rain, but the bulk of that precipitation moving through today and into tomorrow.”

The coasts and valleys could see anywhere from 1.5 to 3 inches of rain, while the mountains could see 3 to 6 inches. An atmospheric river is a long narrow stream of tropical moisture in the atmosphere that can result in heavy rain or snowfall.

The Bond Fire burn scar in Orange County, along with the El Dorado and Apple Fire burn scars in San Bernardino County, are facing voluntary evacuation warnings.

Sandbags are available at fire stations in preparation for the storm expected to hit the Bond Fire burn area in Orange County. Dec. 23, 2021. (CBSLA)

This comes after last week’s storm brought heavy rain and mudslides to the Bond Fire burn area, damaging at least five homes, damaging several cars, and uprooting trees. Some residents ignored mandatory evacuation orders and had to be rescued by firefighters.

A voluntary evacuation warning will take effect at 8 a.m. Thursday in the Silverado, Williams and Modjeska canyons in the Bond Fire burn area. Residents were being advised to leave the area or prepare to evacuate quickly, particularly those with disabilities or mobility issues. Some streets in the area will be restricted to local traffic only beginning at 8 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch that will be in effect from Thursday evening until Friday morning for coastal and inland Orange County.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said officials anticipated activating the county’s emergency operations center.

A mudslide in the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County during a rain storm. Dec. 14, 2021. (CBSLA)

“We’re expecting at least a half-inch of rain” but with the ground already saturated with rain it has officials concerned.

“Even a quarter-inch on saturated ground can lead to a mudslide,” Kim said.

Snow levels will initially be around 9,000 feet, but will fall below 8,000 by Friday afternoon, bringing some light snow to about 5,000 feet by Friday night into Saturday morning.

The forecast came with the usual cautions for travelers.

“Moderate rain could create slick roads and travel delays along with high mountain snow accumulations and gusty winds,” forecasters said. “Additional rain and lowering snow levels could impact travel this holiday weekend.”

Daytime temperatures should be in the upper 50s to mid-60s Thursday, the mid-50s to lower 60s Friday and the mid-50s to around 60 on Christmas Day.

The Angeles National Forest tweeted Wednesday that due to the upcoming rain and low snow levels, several roads were closed.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)