Southern California Forecast Brings Slide Fears - NBC Bay Area

Southern California Forecast Brings Slide Fears



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    The timing isn't good.

    Almost on cue, rain is in the forecast just about one week after the USGS released a report on the potential for landslides in California's burn areas. There's a 20 percent chance of drizzle and light rain Monday night into Tuesday, especially in Orange and San Diego counties, and an increasing chance of rain in Los Angeles County Tuesday night into Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

    A strong storm system -- by October standards -- will begin moving into northern and central California Monday night as ``remnant moisture'' from the former western Pacific Typhoon Melor is expected to be pulled into the system.

    "While there is increasing confidence that this storm will pack a powerful punch across much of northern and central California on Monday night, there is still some uncertainty of the impacts" on Southern California, according to a Weather Service statement. "However, the threat of moderate to heavy rain cannot be ruled out."

    The Weather Service noted that even moderate rain could bring the threat of flash flooding and debris flows to recent burn areas, and that the first rain of the season also brings slippery conditions to roads due to the buildup of oil over the summer.

    A deepening marine layer combined with strengthening onshore flow will bring cooler weather to the region on Sunday and Monday.

    During this time, there will likely be areas of drizzle or even some measurable light rain, mainly in the foothills and coastal slopes.

    While meteorologists are continuing to track the storm system, "there doesn't seem to be any threat (of major rain) right now" for the Southland, said Bill Hoffer of the Weather Service.

    He added that the forecast could change over the next couple of days.

    On Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey warned that even moderate rain could trigger mudslides from the mountains into some of the heavily-developed suburban neighborhoods from Pasadena west through Altadena, La Canada-Flintridge, Montrose, La Crescenta, Lakeview Terrace and Pacoima.

    USGS researcher Susan Cannon said canyons along the fire line drain very steep canyons where soil baked by the Station Fire has turned into dust, and could produce debris flows up to about 100,000 cubic yards, or enough material to cover a football field 60 feet deep.

    "Some of the areas burned by the Station Fire show the highest likelihood for big debris flows that I've ever seen," she said.