Heavy rain fell across metropolitan Los Angeles Tuesday as a major storm hit Southern California on the first full day of spring, marking the first downpour of the young season. This latest storm is forecast to bring several inches of rain, mountain snow and potentially damaging wind gusts through Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for a wide swath of Southern California from the Mexico border to San Luis Obispo County and the southern half of California’s Central Valley. Winter storm warnings have been issued for mountains in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
NWS is forecasting 1 to 3 inches of rain for coastal areas and valleys through Wednesday with 3 to 6 inches possible in the lower mountains and foothills.
“Snow levels will be particularly low, starting at 6,000 feet but dropping to 3,500 to 4,000 feet by Wednesday morning,” said KTLA weather anchor Kacey Montoya.
Peak wind gusts will range from 40 to 55 miles per hour, but could reach 60 mph at lower elevations – more than capable of bringing down trees.
“We’re going to see widespread, potentially damaging gusts pretty much the entire day Tuesday,” Montoya said.
Ahead of the storm, police in Azusa sent officers into the San Gabriel River Valley Monday to warn people to stay away from the river as water levels surge, in part due to water released from the Morris Dam.
Michael Paxton, 34, remains missing after getting swept away by the raging water on March 13. Eight other people were rescued that day.
“The water levels are going to be increasingly high, and we want everyone to stay out of the riverbed,” Azusa Police Lt. Robert Chivas told KTLA.
Water levels were also high in Huntington Beach, where flooding closed the Pacific Coast Highway from Warner Avenue to Seapoint Street, Caltrans said on Twitter.
Downtown Los Angeles has received over 2 feet of rainfall since Oct. 1, 2022. Some locations in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and Santa Monica mountains have recorded more than 36 inches of rain.