- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Flooded roads and freeways along with low fog and clouds made for a hazardous commute Thursday as another round of heavy rain moved through Southern California, raising fresh fears of possible mudslides in wildfire burn areas.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for mountain areas east of Los Angeles, where icy conditions were accompanied by strong winds. Snow - up to a foot in some locations - was expected at elevations as low as 4,000 feet, creating potentially dangerous conditions in mountain passes.

In the valleys, flash flood warnings were in place. Some areas across greater Los Angeles reported nearly an inch of rain in a two-hour span. Downpours were expected through Thursday afternoon. The forecast predicted drier conditions Friday and sunshine for the weekend.

Meanwhile Northern California continued to struggle with clogged commutes, flooded roads and water-logged homes after several days of relentless rain.

Forecasters said precipitation would continue into Thursday, but the brunt of the back-to-back systems fueled by an “atmospheric river” weather phenomenon had passed after delivering the heaviest rain in a decade.

“Everything is on the way down. Everything will start drying out pretty rapidly through the afternoon,” said Steve Anderson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Monterey.

Mountains near Big Sur in Monterey County registered more than 34 inches - nearly 3 feet - of rain since Jan. 2, he said.

Stormy weather was expected to persist in the Sierra Nevada mountains and in the Central Valley, which was under flood warnings or advisories. Many Lake Tahoe ski resorts closed this week because of treacherous roads and avalanche concerns.

Some resorts were open Thursday, boasting of dizzying snowfall that delighted ski enthusiasts.

Another storm system is expected to move into Northern California next week.

The massive rain and snowfall that prompted a rare blizzard warning in parts of the Sierra was helping much of Northern California recover from a six-year drought. The series of storms has also added 39 billion gallons of water to Lake Tahoe since Jan. 1.

State officials opened more gates on a major dam to allow water to spill from the rain-swollen Sacramento River. The gates of the 100-year-old Sacramento Weir were opened this week for the first time in a decade to direct water through the Sacramento and Yolo bypasses.

The Russian River in Sonoma County, which surged to its highest level in a decade, was expected to recede to below flood levels Thursday. Residents used boats to traverse flooded streets and inside deluged homes.

In Los Angeles a mudslide compromised a concrete patio on a Laurel Canyon hillside above Hollywood Tuesday, city fire spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said. No one was hurt when parts of the patio slid down the hill, but a stretch of canyon road remained closed.

Officials warned residents along Los Angeles-area hillsides scarred by wildfires of the possibility of mudslides. Only minor debris flows were reported.


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