The Latest: Southbound lanes of US 101 reopen, Caltrans says

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on California storms (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

The California Department of Transportation says in a tweet that the southbound lanes of U.S. 101, a vital route between Los Angeles and points north and west, have been reopened, while the northbound lanes of the highway remain closed from State Route 150 to Milpas.

Earlier Saturday, in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara County, several miles of U.S 101 were closed because of flooding.


1:45 p.m.

A Malibu canyon neighborhood in a wildfire burn area has been evacuated as floodwaters rise and mud clogs roads during a powerful storm that’s walloping Southern California.

It’s one of many areas under evacuation orders across the region Saturday as heavy rains loosen hillsides charred by recent fires.

Sheriff’s deputies ordered 86-year-old Carol Cavella to leave her Malibu home after nearby Trancas Creek threatened to inundate her property. Her son-in-law, Warren Bowman, says Cavella put her cat in her car and drove to a Starbucks on higher ground.

Highways and roads across greater Los Angeles are closed because of flooding.

Flash-flood warnings are in effect, but forecasters say the storm could begin to die down this evening.

More rain is on the way Sunday and into next week.


11:45 a.m.

Mudflows from hillside burn scars in the Malibu area have closed Pacific Coast Highway, the latest major road to be shut during torrential downpours hitting Southern California.

Officials said Saturday that motorists should find alternate routes as crews try to clear PCH near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Many canyon roads are closed in Malibu, where wildfires scorched hillsides last year.

Ventura County Fire Department Captain Brian McGrath says trees and power lines are down across the region. He says rescue crews have plucked several motorists from cars caught in floodwaters.

Further north, U.S. 101 has been shut in burned areas of Santa Barbara County because of mud in lanes.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for much of Southern California into the afternoon.

The current storm is expected to be followed by several less powerful wet weather systems.


10:15 a.m.

The state transportation agency has closed a key Southern California highway because of flooding after a powerful storm dropped more than a half-inch (1.27 centimeters) of rain in five minutes.

Caltrans says several miles of U.S 101 is shut Saturday in Santa Barbara County because of water and mud in lanes. The highway is a vital route between Los Angeles and parts north and west.

Nearby neighborhoods in wildfire burn areas are under mandatory evacuation orders because of the high risk of debris flows.

It’s the same area where mud and boulders came down in heavy rain just over a year ago. That disaster in January 2018 killed 21 people, and two others have never been found.

The second storm in three days is flooding roads and bringing down trees across the region.


9:15 a.m.

Authorities say a volunteer member of a sheriff’s search and rescue team was struck by a vehicle and killed after stopping to help at the scene of a highway traffic collision during heavy rain in Southern California.

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow says several people, including two other members of the team, were hurt in the two crashes Saturday on Interstate 5.

Buschow says the team was heading for a training exercise when it stopped to provide aid in the Pyramid Lake area of Los Angeles County. He says another vehicle plowed into them.

Officials didn’t immediately say whether the collisions were weather-related. A powerful storm has flooded roadways throughout the region.

Forecasters say up to a half-inch (1.27 centimeters) of rain was recorded in five minutes in some areas.


8:15 a.m.

The second in a string of powerful storms is battering California, bringing down trees, flooding roadways and prompting evacuations in wildfire burn areas where intense downpours could loosen bare hillsides and cause mudslides.

Forecasters said Saturday that a wind gust in Santa Barbara County topped 80 mph (128 kph) as the storm moved south.

Flash flood watches and wind warnings were issued for the southern part of the state after being lifted in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Motorists were urged to avoid travel in mountain areas where heavy snow is expected.

The National Weather Service says some sections of greater Los Angeles could see 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain before the system loses steam.

It will be followed by additional — though less powerful — storms into next week.


12:10 a.m.

A powerful storm sweeping California has prompted flash-flood watches and evacuations in areas stripped bare by devastating wildfires.

The storm that began moving in Friday night is expected to bring up to 4 inches of rain in some areas, winds gusting to 80 mph, 10-foot waves and up to 10 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada.

A flash-flood watch is in place through Saturday morning for the entire San Francisco Bay Area and much of the Central Coast.

Evacuations have been ordered or recommended for many areas of Northern and Southern California that were hit by wildfires in recent months. Authorities fear that an inch of rain an hour could send fire debris, mud and boulders sluicing down denuded hillsides.

The National Weather Service says more rain and snow could arrive with cold weather systems on Sunday and Monday.

Categories: National News