City on Alert for Flooding, Mudslides

Editor’s note: For an interactive map showing potential debris flow in your neighborhood, click here. The map was created by the U.S. Geological Survey.


Rain is expected to fall in the Southern California region on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 28-29, according to the National Weather Service. A total of one-half to two inches of rain is expected to fall on Malibu this week, in the second rain event since the Woolsey Fire devastated several major canyons in the western half of the city earlier in November. 

Rain that fell last week totalled less than one inch and did not cause any major flooding or mudslides, but local and county officials are concerned this second wave of precipitation could cause dangerous conditions across burn areas.

The city warned new evacuation orders may be necessary to certain areas of town. “During storm events, mud and debris flows are a very real and dangerous threat to the communities affected by the Woolsey Fire,” a notice from the city stated. “Due to an increased probability of mud and debris flows in these fire areas, it is important to plan and prepare.”

Free sandbags (up to 25 per person) are available to Malibu residents, according to the city, at: 

Fire Station 70 – 3970 Carbon Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

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Fire Station 71 – 28722 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Fire Station 88 – 23720 Malibu Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Fire Station 99 – 32550 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Zuma Beach Lifeguard Headquarters

Before last week’s rain, Los Angeles County officials provided a list of bullet points for residents to help them prepare for rainfall:

• Burn area residents can pick up empty sandbags at their local fire stations.

• Visit: lacounty.gov/larain for storm season emergency resources, including LA County’s Homeowners Guide to Flood, Debris and Erosion Control.

• Know how to shut off all utilities. Remember, water and electricity do not mix.

• Flowing water is an instant danger zone. Stay away from flood control channels, catch basins, canyons and natural waterways, which are susceptible to flooding during periods of heavy rain.

• Do not attempt to cross the flooded areas and never enter moving water.

• If you become isolated, seek the highest ground available and wait for help.

• If flooding traps you in your car, stay inside. If the water rises higher, wait on top of your car for assistance. Do not step into moving water around your car.

• If you see someone who has been swept into moving water, do not enter the water and attempt a rescue. Call 911 for emergency rescue personnel and, if possible, throw them a flotation device.

• Be ready to go when told to evacuate.

The City of Malibu provided further guidance.

In anticipation of possible evacuations, residents should also be mindful of the following to protect their property:

• Leave gates open.

• Keep parked vehicles away from potential slide areas.

• Make sure trash cans are not left on streets.

The city also suggested drivers “should allow extra time and be prepared for significant travel delays if road closures develop. Motorists should also be aware of rocks and other debris in the roads, particularly along PCH and canyon roads, and proceed with extreme caution.”

Malibu roadways have a history of closure due to mud and rock slides, including a notable closure of Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County at Point Mugu, where the road remained closed for two months from 2014-15.

In the event of road closures or evacuations, The Malibu Times will publish alerts on Twitter at @themalibutimes and at facebook.com/malibutimes. Information is also available from the LA County Fire Department on Twitter at @LACoFDPIO.

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