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Scattered showers continue; sewage spill closes Long Beach shore

March 21, 2011 |  3:09 pm

Heavy rains on Sunday caused flooding and damage throughout southern California including Thousand Oaks, where a massive oak fell crushing a pick up truck in a residential driveway.

Scattered showers continued to be the order of the day Monday in Southern California.

Long Beach closed a section of its coast after a sewage release into the Los Angeles River upstream in Studio City. 

Photos: Spring storm rolls through Southland

Flowing mud swamped a retaining wall in Woodland Hills, causing the evacuation Sunday of 12 homes in the 4800 block of N. Regalo Road. Los Angeles Fire Department officials Monday said six homes remain affected, four of them yellow-tagged because of the amount of debris filling backyards. Another home was evacuated in Encino.

Months ago, some meteorologists confidently predicted a drier-than-normal Southern California winter.

But Sunday’s ferocious storm dumped so much water across the region that it shattered records in several communities. Downtown Los Angeles and many other areas have exceeded rainfall totals for an entire season — with three months still to go.

 “La Nina definitely was a bust,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and one of several meteorologists who predicted last fall that La Nina’s cold ocean currents would bring a drier-than-normal rainy season. “Long-range forecasting is not for wimps. You’ve got to man up and be humbled.”

The Arctic storm that passed through the region Sunday set daily rainfall records in many communities. In downtown L.A., 2.54 inches fell, about an inch more than the previous record set in 1943. Camarillo Airport had its wettest calendar day on record for March with 4.91 inches, and Santa Barbara saw 5.23 inches, also a record. As of Monday afternoon, downtown L.A. had logged 18.5 inches since the rainy season began.

That’s more than 3 inches over the average for the entire season, which ends June 30, said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Hurricane-force wind gusts up to 98 mph roared through mountain passes, while gusts between 50 and 60 mph toppled trees across Southern California's urban landscape.

More showers are forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and possibly Friday, though precipitation will be considerably lighter than Sunday’s deluge, Seto said. Saturday should be partly cloudy, with afternoon clearing.

RELATED:

First day of spring brings record rainfall

Motorists diverted off 5 Freeway seek shelter until morning

Roads closed amid flooding, snow, mudflows from heavy rains

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Heavy rains on Sunday caused flooding and damage throughout southern California including Thousand Oaks, where a massive oak fell crushing a pick up truck in a residential driveway. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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