Southern California to Be Hit With Flash Floods, Thunderstorms and Hail

Los Angeles, along with the rest of southern California, is expecting heavy rain and thunderstorms from this afternoon until Thursday, with flash flood watches in place.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), an elevated flash flood threat is forecast for the southern areas of the sunshine state, due to periods of heavy rainfall. According to the alert, mudslides and rockslides could also be possible in Fort Tejon, Indian Wells Valley, Kern County Desert, Lake Isabella and the Tehachapi Area due to flooding.

The flash flood watch is in place from this afternoon through tonight with around 2 inches of rainfall forecast. The NWS warns that some roads might become impassible or washed out.

A "Flash Flood Watch" means conditions might develop that lead to flash flooding, which is a very dangerous situation. Excessive rainfall can cause flooding of washes, streams and other drainage areas in the watch area and people should be prepared to take immediate action if a warning is issued.

Southeastern areas of California such as Death Valley National Park, the Eastern Sierra Slopes, Owens Valley, Western Mojave Desert and the White Mountains of Inyo County are also under a flash flood watch. According to the NWS, heavy rainfall will develop in the northwest corner of San Bernardino and southwest Inyo County late this afternoon and will spread north and east into Death Valley National Park and the southern Owens Valley by tonight. Localized rainfall rates are expected to range between 0.25 and 0.50 inches an hour, with possible flooding in normally dry drainages.

For residents in the Taboose Burn Area, the heaviest rainfall will stay south of the burn area. Rain rates of 0.10 to 0.25 inches an hour are predicted, resulting in flash flooding within Tinemaha Creek, Red Mountain Creek and Taboose Creek. Additionally, rock falls may occur in the steeper terrain, according to the NWS.

Issued at 7:12 a.m. EDT on March 10, 2020, the graphic shows heavy rainfall for the southwest of California. NOAA

Los Angeles Sees Heavy Rainfall and Thunderstorms

Over on the southwest coast, Los Angeles will deal with subtropical moisture, which will generate locally heavy rainfall today and overnight. The low pressure, upper-level system will bring a threat of thunderstorms during the course of this afternoon and this evening.

According to the NWS, any thunderstorms that develop have the potential to produce brief heavy rainfall, with local rainfall rates of up to 1 inch per hour. Small hail is also forecast with wind gusts reaching 50 miles per hour and the potential for dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning. Conditions will also be favorable for isolated waterspouts over the coastal waters today, which can always come ashore as a small tornado.

Here are the latest forecast rainfall totals (through Thu morn). Highest amounts in the mountains with up to 3" possible. There's a slight chance of t-storms on Tue with brief heavy rain, small hail, and waterspouts possible. #CAwx #LARain

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) March 9, 2020

Roadways could be impacted by flooding, minor mud and debris flows in recent burn areas, rock and mudslides along mountain/canyon roadways, and localized wind damage. In addition, local beaches might be impacted by lightning strikes.

However, people from Los Angeles took to social media to voice their relief that rain was going to fall on the city. According to Los Angeles Almanac, 14.73 inches of rain, on average, falls on Los Angeles annually, which is less than half of the national average.

One user writes: "I'm so glad it's gonna rain the next few days! I'm ready for this #LArain."

I’m so glad it’s gonna rain the next few days! I’m ready for this #LArain

— B (@brrelax) March 10, 2020

For anyone concerned about their morning and evening commutes, call 511 for the latest traffic updates and stay up to date with NWS alerts.