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Mudslide fears spur evacuation orders in wildfire-scorched, storm-hit SoCal

Los Angeles --  Heavy rains drenched Southern California Monday, raising mudslide concerns in recent burn areas and prompting evacuations, CBS Los Angeles reports.

A mudslide late Monday morning forced the closure of a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, which remained blocked until about 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, snowfall in the northern reaches of Los Angeles County prompted a full closure of a highway where multiple vehicles were reported stuck in the snow.

This, a year after a mudslide swept through a fire-devastated California town, killing 21 people.

Residents of hundreds homes in burn areas were told to pack up with the Pacific storm threatening potential catastrophe.

In Riverside County east of Los Angeles, evacuations were ordered Monday for a dozen areas around the Holy Fire, which swept through an enormous swath of the Cleveland National Forest and surrounding areas last August.

"People in these zones MUST GO NOW. Rainstorms carry the potential for dangerous debris flows that can send mud, boulders and trees crashing down hillsides" with little or no warning, a county statement said.

The evacuation was later downgraded to voluntary, but authorities urged people to stay alert because of continuing rain forecasts.

In Santa Barbara County on the central coast, evacuation orders were set to take effect at 10 a.m. Tuesday for areas hit by the Sherpa, Whittier and Thomas fires.

"Gather family members, pets, and essential items," a county statement said. A debris flow could also make roads impassable and strand people near the evacuation areas, especially in Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, the county warned.

After a devastating fire that burned and destabilized foothills, Montecito was hit by a powerful storm on Jan. 9, 2018, that sent water, mud and boulders sluicing down creeks and canyons. Twenty-three people died and over 100 homes were destroyed.

Weather forecasters have predicted a series of storms that could continue to bring rain and snow into the middle of the week. Flash flood watches were issued by the National Weather Service for burn areas in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, which could see as much as an inch of rain per hour from Tuesday afternoon into the evening.

All schools in Malibu were closed Tuesday.

Flooding and debris flows were a threat to hundreds of homes in areas below foothills and canyons that were swept by flames in recent years.

Los Angeles County authorities issued evacuation orders beginning Tuesday morning for some areas of the Woolsey Fire. The blaze that broke out in November destroyed more than 1,500 homes and other buildings from Ventura County to Malibu and killed four people.

On Monday, the first in the series of storms dumped an inch of rain in Los Angeles and snow in the mountains.

Rain closed the Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement parks.

In San Diego County, a 20-foot-long, 20-foot-deep sinkhole on an Interstate 805 off-ramp near Serra Mesa.