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Atmospheric River Drenches Southland, Rain Continues On Christmas Eve

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An atmospheric river storm system that brought bands of heavy rain to the Southland Thursday lingered into Christmas Eve, making for slick commutes on Los Angeles freeways Friday morning and bringing continued threats of mudslides and debris flows to wildfire burn areas.

The storm prompted a mudslide just after 8 p.m. Thursday in the Bond Fire burn scar in the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County. The slide affected roads and impacted some homes. However, the Orange County Fire Authority reported there were no injuries nor calls for rescues following the landfall.

A mandatory evacuation order that was in place for the Silverado, Williams and Modjeska canyons in the Bond Fire burn area was lifted early Friday afternoon.

Atmospheric River Drenches Southland, Rain Continues On Christmas Eve
A storm topples a tree in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Dec. 23, 2021. (CBSLA)

The storm downed trees in residential neighborhoods in Pasadena and Silver Lake. In Silver Lake, the tree toppled onto a home and truck, but no one was hurt.

In Winnetka, firefighters had to rescue a man who got stranded on an abutment above the fast-flowing L.A. River.

The storm also caused rockslides which shut down Highway 18 in the San Bernardino Mountains, which runs to Big Bear Lake. It's unclear when the highway will reopen.

Rain continued intermittently throughout Friday morning across the Southland, with conditions beginning to dry out Friday afternoon, according to CBSLA Meteorologist Alex Biston.

"By later today, those showers really diminish, we'll mostly be dry," Biston said.

However, a second storm is expected to bring rain on Saturday. That storm will be significantly smaller.

"Our next round of rain, that arrives later Christmas Day, but here is the difference, this is going to be a quicker moving storm, snow levels will be lower," Biston said. "So a colder storm, but again, this is not going to last for a day here, a whole day, like what we saw yesterday."

According to the latest numbers from the National Weather Service, through early Friday morning, the storm had brought: 1.79 inches of rain to L.A. International Airport, 2.49 inches of rain to Santa Monica, 2.28 inches to Beverly Hills, 2.87 inches to Northridge, 1.73 inches to Long Beach, 4.05 inches to Porter Ranch, 2.83 inches to Woodland Hills, 2.72 inches to Pasadena, 2.11 inches to Whittier, 2.73 inches to Castaic and 2.41 inches in Alhambra.

The NWS issued a flood watch that will be in effect through noon Friday for coastal and inland Orange County.

The rain will persist intermittently -- perhaps heavy at times -- through the holiday weekend.

"Unsettled weather will prevail across the area with periods of rain through Sunday morning, heaviest Thursday into early Friday," according to the NWS.

Snow levels will initially be around 9,000 feet, but will fall below 8,000 by Friday afternoon, bringing some light snow to about 5,000 feet by Friday night into Saturday morning.
The forecast came with the usual cautions for travelers.

"Snow levels will remain quite high (Thursday) but will drop significantly Friday night into Saturday. Temperatures will be significantly below normal across the region."

Daytime temperatures should be in the mid-50s to lower 60s Friday and the mid-50s to around 60 on Christmas Day.

The Angeles National Forest tweeted Wednesday that due to the rain and low snow levels, several roads have been closed.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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