PCH Remains Closed in Ventura County After Heavy Rain Prompts Rock Slides, Mudflows

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A 9-mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway remained closed in both directions Monday evening after heavy rain prompted rock slides and mudflows on the roadway in southern Ventura County.

Debris is seen on Pacific Coast Highway after a rainstorm on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. (Credit: VCNews)

Debris is seen on Pacific Coast Highway after a rainstorm on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. (Credit: VCNews)

PCH was shut down Sunday afternoon between Las Posas and Yerba Buena roads (map), where tons of mud, dirt and debris obstructed lanes between Malibu and Oxnard, according to the California Department of Transportation.

The closure was creating headaches for area residents and businesses but Caltrans said safety came first.

"It could come down again, it could bring a lot of debris with it as well," said Patrick Chandler with Caltrans.  "So we're not going to let anyone on this road until we feel it's safe for motorists to be on."

The area was scorched in May 2013 by the Springs Fire, which burned some 24,000 acres along the coast and in the Santa Monica Mountains (map).

About 4:50 p.m. Sunday, two vehicles were stranded due to debris on PCH near Dear Creek Road, according to Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Mike Lindbery. None of the occupants were injured, he said.

Caltrans dispatched maintenance, traffic and geotechnical personnel to the scene of the closure, where cleanup efforts continued Monday morning.

Water was still pouring through the K-rail and onto the roadway Monday afternoon.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, Caltrans had said it was "hopeful" that the closure would not last more than one day but advised motorists to plan for alternate routes, including the 101 Freeway.

On Monday evening, Caltrans officials at the scene said the road could remain closed for days depending on the weather.

A Pacific storm system is forecast to bring 1 to 2 inches of rain across Southern California's coastal and valley areas, and 2 to 5 inches in the foothill and mountain areas, according to the National Weather Service.

KTLA's Kennedy Ryan contributed to this story.

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