Ferocious storm strikes Santa Clarita

Waver Ian Fujino,17, waves to passing cars in a pouring rain to promote Liberty Tax services on Lyons Avenue in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal
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One of the strongest storms of the past six years hit Southern California early Friday morning, bringing heavy rainfall, high winds, weather advisories, road closures and school cancellations with it.

Light rainfall began in the area Thursday evening and is expected to increase in strength throughout Friday, with the heaviest rain falling in the afternoon and evening.  Los Angeles County is expected to receive up to six inches of rain during Friday alone.

A Flash Flood Watch was issued for the Santa Clarita Valley Friday morning and will continue into Saturday morning.

Along with the violent rain are high winds from 25 to 35 miles per hour (mph) with gusts up to 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).  A Wind Advisory was also issued for the area and will be in effect until Friday at 10 p.m.

“A powerful storm system will bring strong and damaging southerly winds to the region today, continuing in some areas into early tonight,” the NWS said.

The winds bring an increased risk for downed trees and power lines, property damage and power outages and will make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.

Officials work to remove a downed tree on McBean Parkway near the California Institute of the Arts’ campus Friday morning. Austin Dave/The Signal

Residents already reported seeing downed trees Friday morning.  At the Sierra Village Apartments along Newhall Avenue, a eucalyptus tree reportedly fell and blew on top of one of the townhouse complexes, and a tree fell on McBean Parkway in front of the California Institute of the Arts’ campus.

Mountain High suspended its operations today “due to inclement weather” and a Winter Storm Warning, which will remain in effect for the mountain areas until 11 a.m. Saturday.  Snow levels are expected to reach 6,000 feet Friday night.

Schools in the Sulphur Springs Union School District, Castaic Union School District, Newhall School District, Saugus Union School District and William S. Hart Union School District were not in session Friday due to a pre-scheduled, four-day holiday weekend for President’s Day.

College of the Canyons was also not holding classes Friday due to the holiday weekend.

However, The Master’s University closed its campus and canceled classes Friday due to concerns regarding the upcoming storm.

“The campus is closed today due to an anticipated severe weather event including severe flooding,” the university’s announcement said.  “Classes and chapel are canceled and all offices are closed.”

According to The Master’s University, the campus will reopen Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Heavy rain falls as Caltrtans workers set up a ramp closed sign at the entrance to the south-bound 5 Freeway from the Old Road near Rye Canyon Roand in Valencia on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

And the downpour also closed several roads throughout Santa Clarita.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department said it will close Placerita Canyon Road, near the Master’s University, Friday morning due to safety concerns.

Officials closed Bouquet Canyon Road, from two miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road to 5.5 miles north of Vasquez Canyon Road, Thursday and said the road will remain closed until Sunday.

In Angeles National Forest, officials closed Angeles Forest Highway form Aliso Canyon Road to Angeles Crest Highway due to “potential severe weather and rock slides.”

The storm also brought flight delays and cancellations to both Burbank Bob Hope Airport and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) airport.

At Burbank Airport, nearly all flights after 10:30 a.m. were cancelled Friday, according to the airport’s flight status monitor.

To stay up to date on the latest weather reports and news, visit The Signal’s Weather Center at signalscv.com/weather.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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