Hot “crazy” weather triggered multiple lightning strikes which sparked fires in the Angeles National Forest and thunderstorms which created flooding in Acton.
Heavy sudden rains amounting to 1.25 inches fell on the east side of SCV in 15 minutes and accounted for the bulk of the flooding, Steve Frasher, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works told The Signal.
“It was pretty crazy,” he said. “The bulk of the rain came down in 15 minutes at 4:30 p.m.”
“We had an inch and a half of rain over the course of an hour so that shows you how it came down in those 15 minutes,” he said.
Hardest hit by the tumultuous weather was Acton where several roads quickly became flooded.
Flooding lifted Metrolink train tracks at Crown Valley Road in Acton shortly after 6:15 p.m. prompting the immediate evacuation of the “leaning” Metrolink train.
“They are evacuating the train now,” The Signal’s Austin Dave said, witnessing the evacuation as sheriff’s deputies were seen entering the train.
One apparently frustrated train passenger broke the emergency window glass of one of the train’s windows, Dave said.
At 6:40 p.m., passengers were expected to begin disembarking the train as part of the evacuation.
Train officials, however, decided it was unsafe to have 200 passengers leave the train.
“Train crew is making sure it is safe to proceed with an evacuation of two or three passengers in need of medical attention who are indicating distress,” Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson told The Signal at 7:25 p.m.
“We are unable to evacuate that large a number of people,” he said, noting that Metrolink train No. 215 bound for Antelope Valley would be returning to the station at Via Princessa in Santa Clarita.
Flooding compromised the train tracks when water washed away rock and dirt – called ballast – used to support the tracks, Johnson said.
“A certain section of the ballast was swept away by the flash flood,” he said.
“Once the track is inspected the train will be returning to Via Princessa,” he said.
Metrolink commuters are urged to check the Metrolink website or Twitter page for status of the tracks Friday, Johnson said.
“We are projecting at this point that there will be no train service (Friday morning) from the high desert to Los Angeles,” he said.
The train rescue became the latest in a series of flooding-related rescues.
A “full water rescue” due to flooding of roadways in Acton went into effect involving the complete shutdown of access to Crown Valley Road and the deployment of rescue helicopters by late afternoon.
Emergency response officials shut down Crown Valley Road between Soledad Canyon Road and Highway 14 shortly before 5 p.m. as sudden rains triggered flash floods in Acton and Agua Dulce.
At least three people received special rescue attention during the widespread flooding: an autistic boy reported missing near Acton Park; the occupant of a flood-stranded car requiring medical attention and a recent brain surgery train passenger.
The autistic boy was found and the car occupant requiring medical attention was airlifted to safety by Air Rescue 5, Supervisor Melanie Flores of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said. The train passenger was removed by sheriff’s deputies from the train.
Flooding was reported on Red Rover Mine Road and Crown Valley.
By 5:15 p.m., a number of motorists become stuck because of standing water flooding the roadway on Soledad Canyon Road at Aliso Canyon Road. Public Works crews were also dispatched to Aliso Canyon to alleviate the flooding there, Frasher said.
“I do have a number of vehicles stuck,” a spokeswoman for California Highway Patrol headquarters told The Signal.
At 5:20 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to rescue a motorist stranded in Acton because of flooding who was standing on the roof of his car, Captain Brad Evans told The Signal.
Firefighters responding to reports of flooding between Agua Dulce and Acton dubbed the incident, The Crown Incident, at one point discussing the need to bring in “emergency swimmers.”
The heavy rains triggered a mudslide on San Francisquito Canyon Road about one mile south of Spunky Canyon Road, Frasher said. Flooding on Sierra Highway at Caprock Road prompted the dispatch of public works crews that location.
While rains created flooding in the valleys around SCV, they created lightning in the hilltops around the SCV.
Multiple lightning strikes sparking multiple small fires throughout the Angeles National Forest kept US Forest Service firefighters busy Thursday afternoon as hot humid temperatures gave way to sporadic thunderstorms.
“We are working on multiple lightning (strike) fires,” Adrienne E. Dunfee, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.”
“We have multiple small fire incidents on the go,” she said at 4 p.m.
One of the small fires – dubbed the Red Rock Fire – burned more than a half acre, Dunfee said.
The National Weather Service reported a number of lightning strikes in the area north of Castaic.
The forecast prepared for the Santa Clarita Valley by the service called for a20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday afternoon. And, that it would be mostly sunny and hot with a high near 102.
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