A series of storms is expected to pass through Los Angeles County within the next week, and with the first one forecast to bring rain starting Friday night, authorities are urging residents in the Woolsey Fire burn area to be prepared for the possibility of evacuations.
The National Weather Service predicted the storm will dump up to 1 1/4 inches of rain in L.A. County through Saturday.
Forecast rain rates of 1/2 to 3/4 inch per hour in Malibu prompted concerns that burn-scarred hillsides in areas recovering from the massive November fire could give way, inundating canyons and ravines with mud and debris flows.
In addition to moderate to heavy rain, isolated thunderstorms are possible overnight, according to forecasters. Elevations above 6,000 feet could receive up to 8 inches snow.
After the rain subsides Saturday, another storm — the second in a series of five — is expected to blow into Southern California as soon as Sunday night.
With a flurry of winter weather anticipated well into next week throughout Southern California, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is urging residents in the burn zones to remain vigilant.
“Peak rainfall rates may result in significant mud and debris flow, and we encourage Woolsey Fire survivors to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice,” L.A. County Fire Department Chief Daryl L. Osby said, according to a sheriff's news release.
Osby urged some residents to make plans to leave their home as a precautionary measure -- particularly the elderly, those with medical conditions and anyone who owns large animals.
Communities in low lying areas, and those next to steep slopes or waterways, are especially at risk for mudslides and debris flows, according to the release.
Residents in communities along the following canyon roads are urged to prepare for possible evacuations: Mulholland/Sycamore Canyon, Decker Canyon Road, Encinal Canyon Road, Trancas/Paseo Canyon, Kanan Dume Road, Latigo Canyon, Corral Canyon and Malibu Canyon.
Those who live in the following neighborhoods are also asked to be ready in the event of evacuations: Decker School, Malibu West, Malibu Park/Bonsall, Ramirez Canyon, Zumirez, Ocean View/Escondido, El Nido, Newell, Oak Forest Mobile Estates, Triunfo/Lobo Canyon, Seminole Springs, Malibou Lake, and surrounding communities from Triunfo Creek to Cornell Road, and Old Agoura.
"Evacuation orders should not be taken lightly and are ordered because there is a threat to life and property," officials from the city of Malibu warned in a statement. "Evacuate early to reduce traffic congestion out of Malibu."
Other areas could also be impacted by mud and debris flows, and may be subject to limited access and road closures, the Sheriff's Department warned.
The weather service also warned the rain could make roads slick and cause traffic delays.
Stretches of the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu have already been shut down twice -- including most of last weekend -- due to heavy rain triggering mudslides that buried the roadway in thick layers of mud.
"Major transportation routes may be blocked and are subject to close, therefore leaving early is key," sheriff's officials warned in the release.
The department advises residents to take preparedness steps for possible evacuations. These include creating an evacuation plan that identified primary and secondary exit routes, and making sure your car has an adequate amount of gas and working wipers.
It's also a good idea to have an emergency kit with items such as extra medication, important documents and warm clothing ready packed and ready to go.
For more information on storm preparation, go to www.lacounty.gov/LARain.