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Rain snarls commuter traffic, triggers flood warnings [Updated]

December 29, 2010 |  8:32 am

Storm More rain pummeled storm-weary Southern California on Wednesday, bringing misery to morning commuters and flood warnings to some mountain and foothill areas.

Local ski resorts were expecting another 3 to 6 inches of snow before the storm was expected to move out around midmorning.  Most roads to Mountain High in Wrightwood and the Big Bear resorts in the San Bernardino Mountains were open, but chains were required.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m.: About 1,500 homes in Hollywood's Mount Olympus neighborhood were without power due to a storm-related outage.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power received several calls from residents reporting the outage about 8 a.m., said DWP spokeswoman Maychelle Yee.

Repair crews were dispatched to the neighborhood, but the exact cause of the power loss is so far unknown, Yee said.

Crews are working to restore power but are unsure when service will resume, she said.]

[Updated at 11:15 a.m.: Power was fully restored about 10:45 a.m. The cause of the outage was a downed tree branch, Yee said.]

The National Weather Service issued flood advisories in such foothills communities as Sunland/Tujunga, Sierra Madre and La Cañada-Flintridge. Flooding was occurring in areas of downtown Los Angeles, Monterey Park, Long Beach, Lancaster, Diamond Bar and Acton. 

Two lanes of the southbound 110 Freeway at Redondo Beach Boulevard were flooded, and the far-right lane of the 5 Freeway was partially flooded near Olympic Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol, which also reported a number of crashes throughout the area due to the slippery conditions.

Pacific Coast Highway was closed in both directions from Deer Creek in Malibu up to Las Posas Road in Ventura County.

Los Angeles transit officials said light-rail service was facing delays because of the rain.

Chains are now required at most mountain roads in the San Gabriel Mountains.

[Updated at 9:27 a.m.: A National Weather Service advisory warned that "damaging winds are likely" across portions of Southern California through Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning.

Strong winds are already sweeping through mountain and interior valleys in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, according to the advisory.

Gusts between 40 and 50 mph will be common, the advisory said, and in some mountain passes, winds could reach up to 75 mph.

The winds are expected to shift later Wednesday afternoon, with the strongest gusts along the Interstate 5 corridor and the valleys of Los Angeles County, according to the advisory.

Officials said the combination of very strong winds and blowing snow is expected to cause treacherous driving conditions near the Grapevine, the portion of the Golden State Freeway that winds through the northwestern edge of Los Angeles County.]


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-- Jean Merl, Carlos Lozano and Shan Li

Photo: A CalFire prison crew marches up Tyler Street on Wednesday morning to protect homes from further rain and mud damage in Highland. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times