Off Beat Stories

Jan 20, 2010 12:03 PM by Jamie Smith

Rare tornados hits southern California

Tuesday brought a little of everything and a lot of rain. At least one tornado and several water spouts were reported as a powerful storm blew through the Southland Tuesday causing evacuations and power outages.

Witnesses reported seeing one tornado touchdown in Sunset Beach, lifting boats out of the water. According to the LA Times: In Costa Mesa, another tornado briefly touched down near Whittier Avenue and 17th Street between 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m It lasted about 30 seconds, witnesses said.  The twister tore off a part of the roofing of the Ocean View Industrial Park.

With nearly a week of rain forecast, the potential for slides was far from over. The heaviest downpours are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, with still more rain is possible through the end of the week.

The August-September Station Fire, the biggest in Los Angeles County history, has left about a third of the Angeles National Forest nearly bare and prone to mud and debris flows.

Protecting a roughly 20-mile string of neighborhoods bordering the burn area is a network of 28 catch basins.

Heavy downpours, thunderstorms, flash floods, monstrous winds, coastal flooding, hail, and blizzard conditions in mountain areas are possible Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall is expected to hit Santa Barbara County beginning around 11 a.m., then spread to Los Angeles County starting around 3 p.m., lasting until around 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

During that time, hourly rainfall rates of between three-quarters of an inch and an inch are expected, increasing to 1.5 inches in areas hit by thunderstorms and over south-facing slopes, which includes the sites of the Station and Morris fires.

"Rainfall at these rates could cause significant flash flooding, with life-threatening mud and debris flows in and below the recent burn areas, especially since the grounds are saturated," according to an NWS advisory.



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