First published in the Jan. 14 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
A cold, rainy, destructive storm passed through Southern California this week, soaking Glendale and leaving residents scrambling for sandbags and avoiding inundated roadways.
Another storm is brewing and is anticipated to arrive today and continue through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The torment earlier this week thundered over the region, causing localized flooding and debris flows that forced closures of roads and freeway lanes. Rains dumped more than 10 inches of rain some areas overnight.
Mud flows, sliding rocks and fallen tree limbs made driving treacherous on canyon roadways out of the foothills, frustrating drivers on critical routes.
Area resident Alison Ho recently learned the hard way to abide by the oft quoted “Know before you go.”
Ho and her family of five were returning home from Lake Tahoe on New Year’s Eve. They were leaving early because of a heavy storm forecast for California, and didn’t want to be stuck in place, but failed to check the weather in the almost-always sunny Los Angeles area.
To avoid traffic, the family followed the Waze app, which suggested driving through the Angeles National Forest.
“With novice road trippers like us, we just followed Waze,” she said. “We had no idea how treacherous it would be — it was so dark, such thick fog, rocks all over the place.”
Their car ultimately hit a rock the size of a soccer ball, giving them a flat and leaving them stranded on the Angeles Crest Highway with no cell phone reception. Thankfully, Ho was able to send out an SOS message to 911, which sent sheriff’s officers to the rescue.
Though the family passed the New Year on the mountain as they waited, the Crescenta Valley Station officers who found them “were total pros” and had their tire changed in no time at all, Ho said.
“We are so thankful for these deputies and officers for all they do. We felt such a sense of relief when they came to help,” she said, adding “We learned our lesson.”
The storm also sporadically knocked out power to thousands of residents. The torrential rain led to flooding in the pedestrian walkway leading to train platforms on the main level of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
Also Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service announced that because the storms resulted in a federal emergency declaration, Southern California residents and business owners will have until May 15 to file federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.
The one-month filing grace period is being offered to residents in areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as qualifying for tax relief due to storms — including individuals and households that reside or have a business in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Temperatures will stay cool through the rest of next week, with most highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, though overnight temperatures will drop into the 30s in the mountains and high desert.
Officials also issued a cold weather alert for Mount Wilson, where near-freezing or sub-freezing temperatures were expected on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Motorists were urged to check road conditions before traveling at the state website: roads.dot.ca.gov/. As of press time on Friday, Angeles National Forest update was that State Route 2 was closed in both directions from 3.3 miles east of Newcomb’s Ranch to SR-39 due to hazardous road conditions. The SR-2 is also closed for the winter from SR-39 to Grassy Hollow Campground.
For those experiencing flooding or inundations, the city is offering 10 free unfilled sandbags at all Glendale fire station locations and the Public Works Yard, located at 541 W. Chevy Chase Drive. Sand and unfilled sandbags are available at the following locations, though residents must bring their own shovels:
• Dunsmore Park (4700 Dunsmore Ave.)
• Chevy Chase Library Parking Lot (3303 E. Chevy Chase Dr.)
• Brand Park (1601 W. Mountain St.)
— City News Service contributed
to this report