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New rainstorm headed to Southern California

January 25, 2010 |  9:39 am

Sunset
A new storm is expected to sweep through Southern California this evening, slowing the Tuesday morning commute but not posing a threat to hillside homes, authorities said.

Officials with the National Weather Service described the storm as a single event that probably would bring considerably less moisture than the multiple series of storms last week that drenched the region.

“This is just a solitary storm, coming down the coast,” said Jamie Meier, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “Right now the exact track of the storm is a bit iffy.”

The system will bring some periods of heavy rain and gusty winds Tuesday, but that is expected to be short-lived, she said. The storm was expected to dump between a half-inch to 1 inch of rain on the region before tapering off Wednesday. 

Dry and cool conditions were expected to prevail the rest of the week, the National Weather Service said, though there is a chance of more rain Friday.

Last week's storms forced more than 2,000 hillside homes to be evacuated as more than 6 inches of rain deluged some foothill areas.

“This coming system does not appear to pose a problem as far as mud flows are concerned,” said Bob Spencer, a spokesman for the L.A. County Department of Public Works. “There shouldn’t be the kind of precipitation that we saw last week coming down the mountains.”

Bulldozers, dump trucks and other heavy equipment were being used today to clean out debris basins in La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and other foothill areas scarred by last year's Station wildfire. The basins are designed to catch and channel mud, boulders, branches and other water-driven debris away from homes and roads.

“We’ve had a couple of days of respite to clear out the basins,” Spencer said. “That’s been good for us.”

Authorities asked motorists in the foothills to take extra caution because so much heavy equipment is navigating the roads. The curious were asked to stay away so as to minimize traffic.

“Right now, there’s a huge amount of public works equipment in the burn areas,” Spencer said.

Most roads in the Angeles National Forest remained closed as crews removed debris and checked for damage. Last week’s storms pushed the Los Angeles area about 3 inches above normal rain levels for this time of year, said experts with the National Weather Service.

-- Patrick J. McDonnell

Photo: The sun sets over the San Gabriel Valley on Sunday, ending a week of severe storms in Southern California. A new storm is expected Tuesday. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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