Powerful SoCal Storm Prompts Mudslide Fears, Closure of Pepperdine’s Malibu Campus

A powerful storm moving through Southern California prompted Pepperdine University to cancel classes at their Malibu campus Thursday as recent burn area residents concerned themselves with the possibility of mudslides.

“Due to rain in the area and uncertainty with road conditions, classes are canceled and offices are closed,” the University posted on its website just before 6:30 a.m.

The statement warned students and staff not to use canyon roads near the campus.

That message was echoed by fire officials.

“If there is a landslide that means the road can be blocked and the power poles can come down,” Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson Brian Jordan said.

Public Works crews already had to clear a some rocks that fell onto Malibu Canyon Road, Jordan said.

Flood advisories for burn areas

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the Woolsey and Hill fire burn areas as moderate to heavy rain continued to fall Thursday morning. The advisories were allowed to expire at 10:45 a.m.

Rain rates in the area were reaching three-quarters of an inch per hour at one point, the Weather Service tweeted.

Video from the Decker Canyon area showed a minor slide had left rocks and mud on the roadway, which is currently closed to the public.

CalTrans crews were also seen driving up and down Pacific Coast Highway in an effort to keep the road clear.

Area residents were not given mandatory evacuation orders, but were told to be prepared to get out if necessary.

The possibility of power outages, rock slides and dangerous road conditions were to be expected all day Thursday, officials said.

Inland Empire flood concerns

Flash flood warnings were issued in Orange and Riverside counties Thursday morning. Those warnings were due to expire at noon.

Residents in the Holy Fire burn areas are dealing with similar concerns over the possibility of mudslides and debris flows.

About 3,500 people were under mandatory evacuation orders, a Cal Fire Riverside official said.

Possible thunderstorms and hail

Rain totals from the storm were likely to reach 1 to 2 inches in the coast and valley areas. About 2 to 3 inches of rain is expected in the mountain and valley areas.

Colder air behind the storm front could bring thunderstorms, gusty winds and hail to areas of Southern California later in the day, according to the Weather Service.