Clear skies over the canyons after the rainstorms

After a few days of rain, strong winds, and even thunderstorms, Malibu ended the weekend with clear skies and even a double rainbow over the Santa Monica Mountains.

Malibu began to have heavy rain, wind, hazardous road, and sea conditions forecast Thursday, Feb. 23, through Saturday, Feb. 25.

Clear skies were expected beginning Wednesday, March 1, in the coast with a 60 percent chance of precipitation.

On Saturday morning, Topanga Canyon closed briefly while Caltrans cleared a mudslide that closed both lanes on the canyon. The road opened shortly after.

Later that afternoon, all LA County beaches and the Malibu Pier closed due to lightning strikes as the storm tracks North along the coast. The Los Angeles County Fire Department and Lifeguard Division announced the closures and were in contact with The National Weather Service providing updates. The beaches reopened shortly after. 

City and County Public Works crews and Caltrans were monitoring Pacific Coast Highway and canyon roads in Malibu for mudslides, keeping the roads clear, checking and clearing drainage culverts and storm drains, and pre-placing equipment.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department temporarily suspended taking samples to measure Live Fuel Moisture (LFM) due to the recent heavy rains and LFM readings exceeding 125 percent, reducing the risk of extreme fire behavior. LACOFD will resume sampling and posting LFM levels when conditions warrant.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the mountains, with 5 feet or more of snow expected in some areas. While no snow was reported near Malibu, hazardous road conditions, mud and rocks, flooding, and 3 inches or more of rain were reported.

A high surf advisory was issued during the storms and visitors were advised to stay out of the water. Beach hazards included rip currents, beach erosion, powerful surf, and debris in the water. An ocean water quality advisory was declared by The LA County Department of Public Health and advises the public to avoid contact with ocean water near discharging rivers, creeks, and storm drains within 72 hours of significant rainfall due to high levels of bacteria and pollution. The advisory may be extended depending on further rainfall.

Loose debris and rain were also prone to prevent outages. One of the biggest threats is tree limbs breaking and then falling into power lines. Southern California Edison reminds customers that if they see a downed power line or dangling wire, even if it appears not to be live, to not touch or approach it and call 911 immediately. 

SCE offers tips to stay prepared for potential outages during severe storms: watch out for traffic signals that may be out, approach those intersections as four-way stops, freeze water and transfer it to your refrigerator if the power goes out to keep perishables cold, and always back up important work and files on your computer.

For any questions about vegetation located near SCE power lines, contact SCE Customer Support at (800) 655-4555. To report an object caught in power lines or an outage, call (800) 611-1911. 

To prepare for further rain and flood conditions, sandbags are available at Los Angeles County Fire Stations. Call stations to find out if filled sandbags and sand are available: Station 88, Malibu Road – (310) 456-2812, Station 70, PCH & Carbon Canyon – (310) 456-2513, Station 71, PCH & Zumirez – (310) 457-2578, Station 99, PCH & Encinal Canyon Road – (310) 457-3706, Station 72, 1832 Decker Road – (310) 457-6186. Search for which locations in LA County have sand, sandbags, and filled sandbags on the LA County Department of Public Works website. Authorities urge residents to not remove sand from the beach to fill sandbags. Sand is crucial for beach habitats, and removing it from the beach is illegal in LA County. Plastic sandbags are prohibited in the City of Malibu (jute, burlap or other natural fiber bags are allowed).

Residents can monitor weather and emergency information on local news, and sign up for weather, beach, or emergency alerts via text or email from the City of Malibu at www.malibucity.org/news, scroll down to “Alert Center.” All current city alerts are posted on the website. All emergency information will be posted on the city website, malibucity.org, and on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department.Twitter @samanthavbravo

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