Update: It's Tuesday, Dec. 28, and there's another one coming. Get with the times!
We were still kind of making fun of the impending Los Angeles “weather” last Friday, when the shower head was set to wimpy sprinkle and L.A. drivers were farting around at their always hilarious (except when we have to get somewhere) brake-in-puddles freakout party.
But we concede that this storm has turned evil, by even the Seattle-est of standards. So much so, that Weather Channel territory has become the top news item on NBC, CBS, ABC and the rest. Word is, a fat storm leaving the Gulf of Alaska hooked up with a bunch of subtropical air it found drifting across the Pacific, then chose SoCal as its romping ground. Sexy, right?
Here's the damage report, as of this morning. And it's not going to get any better:
Tuesday and Wednesday will summon three to six more inches of god's wrath — the worst SoCal storm in a decade, according to KNX news radio. It will then return on Christmas Day, complete with “gale-force winds.” Wonderful. (But it could always be worse: A Lady Gaga concert was cancelled in Paris last night due to massive amounts of snow. She's “devastated.”)
• Pacific Coast Highway is closed in both directions at the Ventura-L.A. county line. The rain got all up in the cliffs overlooking the highway last night, causing a rockslide to roar down and block the roadway. At one point, a giant boulder even fell on top of a car. Things weren't helped by a Metro bus that spun out on the PCH in Santa Monica early this morning. (No one was hurt.) In other words — take the 101.
• Mudslides are also a growing threat to all slanty mountainous areas. La Canada and the Hollywood Hills, in particular, are spooked; the former saw over 40 homes wiped out in a February flood, and residents of the latter are reporting that the ground appears to be soaked dangerously through by the seven inches of rain they received this weekend. Not even Bel Air could pay its way out of the storm's path: The retaining wall of one wealthy estate collapsed completely, causing a tidal wave of mud and grime to crash into the house.
• Trees fall on things! Namely, a eucelyptus on a Woodland Hills home, an unnamed specimen on a West Hills parked vehicle and a 40-footer on a Glendale apartment building. And you know it's gotten bad when the races are called off. Hollywood Park's seven final horse races of the season were cancelled on Sunday because some turf on the track was so soaked as to pose a danger to the horses.
• It wouldn't be a storm in L.A. without a barrage of traffic accidents. The CHP reported over 60 accidents in the county over the weekend. These include a family of four who wrapped their vehicle around a tree this weekend in east L.A. County, and — just this morning — a Palmdale couple who was killed after being broad-sided by a pick-up truck. Their 4-year-old daughter was also in the car, and is in the hospital with serious injuries.
• Last night, the Long Beach end of the 710 was indundated in one full foot of water, after road drains were pounded into submission. Things got so bad around 10 p.m. that cars were stalling in the water; CHP officers had to block the freeway off until early this morning.
As for all you Angelenos braving the roadways despite the danger: 1) Stop looking at your phone, and 2) Don't even think about blaming your vehicular shortcomings on the weather.
“No crashes are weather-related,'' CHP Officer Patrick Kimball says. “The California Highway Patrol maintains all crashes are driver error, driving too fast for the road conditions.''
With reporting from City News Service.