Southern California Braces For What Could Be Biggest Storm in 6 Years, With Flooding, Mudslides Likely

Pam Wright
Published: February 16, 2017

Authorities and residents in Southern California are preparing for a slow-moving storm that could become the biggest rainmaker of the past six years, with possible flooding and mudslides accompanying the deluge.

Jon Erdman, meteorologist, says residents in and around Los Angeles can expect 3 to 5 inches of rain, with higher amounts in the foothills below snow level Friday and Friday night.

Erdman notes that with the deluge, there is a high risk of widespread urban flash flooding, debris flows from recent wildfire-scarred areas that could damage homes and roads, as well as mud and rockslides, even in areas not charred by recent wildfires. 

(MORE: Latest On Oroville Dam Crisis)

"Expect significant travel delays Friday morning, and especially the Friday afternoon and evening commute," said Erdman.

Damaging wind gusts may accompany the storm, particularly in the mountains, which are likely to down trees and power lines.

At higher elevations, particularly above 6,000 feet, heavy snow is expected. Some locations could pick up to 2 feet of snow. Roads above those elevations may become impassable by late Friday into early Saturday.

"If that wasn't enough, we also can't rule out thunderstorms, possibly spawning waterspouts Friday night into early Saturday," Erdman added. 

There will also be dangerous, locally damaging surf at the beaches from Thursday through Sunday, particularly for west-facing beaches Rip currents, beach erosion and minor coastal flooding are also expected.

(MORE: Los Angeles Could See Most Rain in Years)

"If you're not an expert surfer, you should stay out of the water through this weekend," Erdman said.

MORE: Vintage Los Angeles and Santa Monica - Huntington


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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