Winter storm brings rain, snow and flood fears to California

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LOS ANGELES — A major winter storm pounded California on Tuesday, bringing rain and snow to the drought-stricken state along with possible flash flooding in areas recently scarred by wildfires, meteorologists said.

The storm is predicted to last into midweek. It arrived Monday, bringing hopes that the precipitation could blunt an already moderate wildfire season in California.

But in some areas, the rain posed its own problems. The city of Duarte, in the Southern California foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, issued mandatory evacuation orders late Monday night for about 25 homes in the Fish Fire burn scar area. Other evacuation orders are in place through Wednesday morning for canyon areas in the Santa Ana Mountains’ Bond Fire burn scar.

In Northern California, meteorologists issued a flash flood watch through 5 p.m. Tuesday, warning that heavy rainfall could lead to debris flows and flash flooding in the burn scars of the Colorado and River wildfires.

National Weather Service meteorologists expect between 1 and 3 inches (2.54 and 7.62 centimeters) of rainfall through Wednesday in the Los Angeles area’s coast and valleys. The foothills and mountains could see up to 5 inches (12.70 centimeters). Thunderstorms are expected to last Tuesday afternoon into the evening.

Meteorologists say mountain peaks above 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) elevation could get 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of snowfall, with 20 inches (50 centimeters) possible locally.