Three back-to-back storms began moving through the Santa Clarita Valley Friday morning, bringing with them the threat of three to 8 inches of rain for the next six days. Thunderstorms, lightning, gusty winds, flash floods, mud slides, “some small hail” and snow at levels 5,000 feet above sea level are also forecast, Weather Specialist Stuart Seto, of the National Weather Service in Oxnard told The Signal Friday morning. The heaviest downpour began Friday morning, he said, with concerns expressed about mud slides and debris flows with rain falling a half inch per hour, Seto said. TRAFFIC COLLISIONS A flash flood watch was issued Friday and remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday. As well, a winter storm warning for mountainous areas was issued at 9 a.m. “It looks like a lot of rain is going through your area right now,” Seto said. The first storm is expected to deliver up to two inches of rain, the second storm bringing the same amount and third storm – forecast to begin Friday night – between one and three inches, possibly up to 5 inches by Monday. “The heaviest stuff is expected to fall Sunday,” Seto said at 10 a.m. The rain contributed to commuter woes Friday morning as both California Highway Patrol officers and deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to several traffic collisions in and around the Santa Clarita Valley. “We are having some traffic collisions but nothing major so far,” Sgt. Sam Soehnel told The Signal about 10 a.m. FLOODING By 1 p.m., emergency response crews reported several areas of flooding. CHP officers reported flooding on Highway 126 at San Martinez. Overflowing catch basins were reported on Sand Canyon and Iron Canyon. By mid-afternoon, a torrent of water filling Iron Canyon and running west to Sand Canyon, barred some residents access to their homes. “I can’t get to my house,” said Sand Canyon resident Catharine Bybee as she watched a river of water run through Iron Canyon. Flooding on San Francisquito Canyon Road prompted a SIG alert and road closure at 9 a.m. Friday, according the CHP. Shortly before noon, Public works crews were called out to reports of debris flow moving north to south on Hasley Canyon Road at Del Valle Road. By 12:20 p.m., the intersection was reported to be flooded. About the same time, firefighters reported a rock slide moving down a hillside on San Francisquito Canyon Road at Quail Trail. At least one solo vehicle crash happened in the flooded section of San Francisquito involving a Hyundai Elantra 15 minutes before the road was officially closed.Mud and rock debris were reported as moving across sections of Lake Hughes Road shortly before 11 a.m. Several vehicles became stuck in mud including a Fire Department vehicle prompted officials to dispatch a bulldozer to its location Iron Canyon Road. The CHP issued a traffic advisory due to flooding, urging motorists to use caution. Emergency crews responded to multi-vehicle traffic collisions on Highway 14 including one involving five vehicles near Escondido Canyon Road and one near Agua Dulce Canyon Road. Several traffic collisions and solo vehicle spin-outs were reported on Highway 14 and Interstate 5. A grey sedan spun out on the Northbound lanes of I-5 shortly after 11 a.m., blocking traffic in the fast lane between Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway, CHP reported. At least two patients were taken by ambulance to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital shortly before 11:15 a.m. from one of the crashes on Highway 14. STRONG WINDS Gusty winds downed more than half a dozen trees across the SCV, including a tree on Wayne Mills Place in Valencia near the north bound Magic Mountain Parkway exit of the I-5. City of Santa Clarita workers were called out to remove trees that fell across roadways including incidents at: – McBean Parkway in front of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. – McBean and Town Center Drive – 17909 Soledad Canyon Road near River Circle. – on top of a vacant car on Jakes Way and Canyon Park. – the backyard of home on Jeffers Lane, in Castaic. “ A Pine Tree has fallen at Ruthspring and Sand blocking the roadway. Staff is onsite clearing,” City of Santa Clarita spokeswoman Carrie Lujan told The Signal shortly before 1 p.m. MAIL DISRUPTION The heavy rain also prompted the US Postal Service to issue an alert that mail service would be impacted if Bouquet Canyon Road was closed as was expected. The U.S. Postal Service has been advised that Bouquet Canyon Road will be closed by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 5:00 p.m., a news release issued by the US Postal Service said. “If conditions warrant, Public Works may close Bouquet Canyon Road sooner,” the release said. “Once closed, the road will remain closed through the series of storms which are expected to subside sometime on Monday. At that time, an inspection of the road will be completed to determine if the road is safe to re-open. The road closure will impact 107 delivery addresses for Postal Service customers located on Bouquet Canyon Road.” ROAD CLOSURES Steve Frasher, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, announced the closure of several roads around the SCV because of the rain. Roads closed due to current storm conditions are:
Malibu Canyon Road, from Malibu Crest Road at the city boundary to Piuma Road, due to a rock slide.
Wilson Road, from Angeles Forest Highway to Mt. Wilson Circle, due to winter weather conditions.
Upper Big Tujunga Road from the Angeles Forest Highway to the Angeles Crest Highway, due to storm conditions and rock slide potential.
Big Pines Highway, from Largo Vista Road to Angeles Crest Highway, is open with limited access; chains are required above 5,000 feet.
Bouquet Canyon Road, north of Santa Clarita, remains open at this time, he said. Bouquet Canyon Road could be closed at any time, depending on road conditions. In anticipation of a more severe storm on Sunday, Bouquet Canyon Road is scheduled to be closed between the gates at 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, until conditions and inspection allow.