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Oct-13-2009 13:06printcomments

Major Travel Delays, Flooding Threaten San Francisco to Los Angeles

Conditions improve across California Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night as the rain tapers off and winds diminish.


(SAN FRANCISCO) - forecasters say after facing raging wildfires that threatened their homes late this summer, some California residents are now dealing with the threat of devastating flooding, mudslides and debris flows.

A major storm system bearing down on the West Coast will continue unleashing torrential rainfall and producing tropical storm-force winds across California. In addition to flooding and mudslides, the rain and wind will also lead to mounting airport delays, disrupted traffic and potential power outages.

The storm is partially the remnants of Typhoon Melor, which blasted Japan late last week. A widespread inch or two of rain will soak much of northern and central California through Wednesday morning.

From Eureka in northern California to the mountains surrounding the Los Angeles Basin in Southern California, rainfall totals will reach 2 to 4 inches. Meanwhile, 4 to 8 inches will deluge the Sierra. wind

While flooding will be a threat just about anywhere in central California, including San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno, it will be the worst in the recent burn areas. In Southern California, most of the flooding problems will occur in burn areas.

The Station Fire scorched over 160,000 acres of Angeles National Forest, north and east of Los Angeles, late August into September, forcing the evacuations of thousands of homes. It was the largest wildfire in history in Los Angeles County.

Those Southern Californians who were threatened by this blaze and other recent wildfires are at the greatest risk for life-threatening flash flooding, mudslides and debris flows, which can consume houses and roads. In an effort to prevent such devastation, sandbags and concrete barriers have been positioned on streets in suburbs northeast of Los Angeles to direct debris flows away from homes.

Where flooding does not occur, travel disruptions and property damage will still be threats from this storm. The combination of the rain and high winds gusting up to 40 to 60 mph will continue creating dangerous travel conditions.

Gusty winds and heavy rain in San Francisco Tuesday morning were already causing close to 3-hour delays at the airport. Motorists should also be ready for slow traffic and are urged to use caution. Oil buildup from the lack of rain over the summer months can create very slick roadways.

The strong winds will be capable of downing trees and creating power outages in some areas as well. Conditions improve across California Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night as the rain tapers off and winds diminish.

This early season storm could be a sign of more wet weather to come for California this winter. Check back in with Wednesday morning for the release of the winter forecast. Ken Clark has more details on what to expect with this storm region by region across California.

Special thanks to Justin Roberti at,/a>

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Bob November 14, 2009 4:28 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you so much! I had a science project about a weather article and this is perfect!

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