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Series of powerful storms will pummel Southland

December 19, 2010 |  5:53 pm

One of the most powerful storm systems to strike Southern California in five years is showing no sign of weakening.

The subtropical storm has already drenched downtown Los Angeles with 3 3/4 inches of rain this weekend -- exactly one-quarter of the precipitation the city usually gets in an entire year.

And forecasters are warning that three more powerful punches are targeting Southern California before the sun might return Thursday.

“There is the potential for even higher rainfall intensities than the rain this weekend,” said Bill Hoffer, spokesman for the National Weather Service office in Oxnard. “If this additional round of heavy rain materializes, there of course will be the potential for widespread area flooding.”

Already, Southern California seemed to be reaching its saturation point, with floodwater rising to knee-high levels on Pineridge Road in La Crescenta, although crews were able to prevent water from damaging homes.

In La Canada Flintridge, residents worried aloud about the return of floodwater along Ocean View Boulevard. A slow-moving rainstorm flooded 40 homes and destroyed parked cars in February after the drain to the Mullally Debris Basin was blocked by a boulder.

“You come up here Thursday, and there’s going to be two feet of mud everywhere,” fretted one resident, who asked not to be named for fear of angering public works crews in the area.

Nearby, three television news crews were keeping watch. Many residents have wearied of speaking with reporters, who monitor the area when it rains.

-- Jason Felch, reporting from La Canada Flintridge, and Rong-Gong Lin II