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Southland Regions Impacted By Fallout From Winter Storms

MALIBU (CBSLA) — With massive weather storms hitting California over recent weeks, residents all over the Southland are feeling the full force of the after effects.

Reports of mudslides, rockslides, floods, washed-out roads, flooded highways, mandatory evacuations, power outages, fallen trees and closed roadways came from all over as record-breaking rainfall numbers doused Los Angeles County during a storm that raged on through both Wednesday and Thursday.

Dozens of roads were closed or impacted in some way throughout the course of the storm, including State Route 18, which had a large portion of roadway get washed down the mountain, creating treacherous driving conditions for hopeful snowboarders or New Year's Eve partiers planning on spending their holiday in a winter wonderland.

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Late Thursday, rockslides in several different Malibu locations prevented drivers from passing through the area of the Pacific Coast Highway at Mulholland Drive, as rockslides were reported north and south of the Malibu Canyon tunnels, on southbound Latigo Road, on Corral Canyon Road and Newall Road and especially Las Virgenes Road south of Mulholland Highway, where a massive boulder the size of an SUV slammed onto the roadway, blocking traffic in both directions.

A bridge in Chatsworth, built sometime in the 1920's, finally gave way to erosion and the rushing waters that washed out a portion of the bridge, stranding residents who had just left their home to get lunch.

"We came back about an hour later and half of the bridge and collapsed, due to the rain and erosion, and we were unable to reach our house," a resident said.

Since the road is located on private property, repair is out of the jurisdiction of city assistance.

A large portion of the westbound 10 Freeway was closed indefinitely Thursday morning, when flooding overtook much of the road, making it impossible for vehicles to drive.

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Mark Schiffman was rudely awakened around 4 a.m. on Thursday, when his backyard in Tarzana was engulfed by a massive mudslide, covering nearly every inch of property, including filling the entire swimming pool with the thick substance.

Firefighters were on hand to assist Schiffman in preventing the mud from overtaking his house.

"The problem is, the hillsides can still go, even if it's not raining. And with the sustained rain that we've had the past couple of days, the dirt gets saturated and without the vegetation to hold it back, it lets go," L.A. County Fire Captain Tom Henzgen said.

Studio City roadways were also impacted by mudslides, especially Coldwater Canyon, where several vehicles were stuck in the flow of mud, while city officials assessed whether it was safe for residents to stay in their homes as the situation worsened.

Dozens of trees blocked roads all over Los Angeles County, including a massive tree that fell on a home on at the intersection of Rhea Boulevard and Welby Way in Los Angeles, a tree that blocked all lanes of Sunset Boulevard near Bienveneda Avenue, another tree that blocked lanes on Roscoe and Van Nuys Boulevards, and yet another large tree that blocked all lanes of East Chevy Chase Drive in Glendale.

Mandatory evacuations were again ordered for residents living near areas affected by burn scars from fires in 2020 and 2021, most notably the Bond Fire burn scar and Bobcat burn scar. Bond Fire burn scar areas were relieved of the evacuation order early Thursday morning, but not without considerable cleanup to take care of on several roads in the area.

Campers at Leo Carrillo State Park were suddenly forced to leave the campground when a nearby creek began to overflow, prompting the evacuation of over 50 campers by L.A. County firefighters.

Even city dwellers were affected on Thursday, when Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles suddenly flooded with several inches of water.

In response to the tragic instances overtaking all of California, not just the Southern region, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency for 20 different counties across the state - including Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Not all was bad with the winter storms though, as mountain regions were powdered with nearly 30 inches of fresh snow, exciting skiers and snowboarders statewide. After Thursday, California's snowpack is 160% of the average for this time of the year. Despite this, officials still indicated that state reservoirs were still well below average, and there was much more ground to be made up to recover from the drought affecting the Golden State, the second-worst in state history.

Orange County residents were treated to a rare surprise, with the return of the Dana Point Waterfalls, a natural wonder that only occurs when large amounts of rainfall hit the area.

Officials reminded locals to remain vigilant, and be aware of any additional hazards that may still come after the winter storms. Fortunately for many, the coming forecast for Los Angeles County, while cold, shows no incoming storms.

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