Powerful Rainstorms Cause Flooding, Evacuations

The dam at the end of Paseo Canyon in Malibu West breaches on Saturday, Feb 2.

Malibu weathered yet another powerful winter storm this week, with no major mudslides in residential areas, despite dire predictions. The heavy rain, coupled with rare thunder and lightning on Thursday, did bring beach closures, road closures and an evacuation in Malibu West, but no injuries or loss of life were reported.

Rain, which began falling late in the day Wednesday, Jan. 30, continued on and off through Monday, Feb. 4, dumping several inches of rain on Malibu over the week.

According to rain totals compiled by KBUU News, the Malibu Civic Center received 3.58 inches of rain over the course of the week; upper Decker got 5.75 inches. In total, rainfall from Tuesday, Jan. 29 to Tuesday, Feb. 5, amounted to:

Leo Carrillo—2.94 inches

Upper Decker—5.75 inches

Malibu Civ Ctr—3.58 inches

Mal Cyn Tapia—4.79 inches

Camp 8 Las Flores—3.85 inches

Topanga Cyn—5.28 inches

Agoura—4.94 inches

Boney Mtn—5.56 inches

Newbury Pk—4.16 inches

Lake Sherwood—4.94 inches

Heavy rainfall resulted in on-and-off closures of Pacific Coast Highway (from Big Rock to Las Posas), Decker Canyon Road, Kanan Dume Road, Malibu Canyon Road, Mulholland Highway and Topanga Canyon Road; both Decker Canyon Road and Mulholland Highway remained closed at the time The Malibu Times went to print Tuesday evening.

On Thursday, Feb. 1, lightning caused beach closures up and down the central and southern California coast, including evacuations of Zuma Beach and the Santa Monica Pier. 

The Paseo Canyon area of Malibu West was under mandatory evacuation as of noon on Saturday, due to mud and debris breaching the dam at the top of Paseo Canyon Road. The dam held and, though mud and water flooded streets in the area, water eventually receded without major property damage. The evacuation was lifted just before 6 p.m. Saturday.

When the evacuation was lifted, the City of Malibu provided warnings to residents repopulating the area. 

“Residents may return home but remain vigilant and cautious of running water and potential for further mud and debris flows,” an alert from the city read.

“The potential for falling rocks and mud and debris flow still exists and residents should maintain good situational awareness when re-entering the area,” the city’s notice stated. “Residents returning to evacuated areas can expect to see continuous running water at Arizona crossings and light mud and rock coverage on portions of roadway. Many canyon and local roads will be slippery, and all motorists are urged to drive cautiously and slowly. Do not attempt to cross flooded areas and never enter moving water.”

Many roadways in Malibu remained submerged into Tuesday.