Dozens Rescued from Major Mudslide in Southern California

by Craig Garrett

Storms in Southern California’s burn scars triggered a mudslide, trapping several vehicles in the debris and prompting rescue operations. The Fox Forecast Center was monitoring Flash Flood Warnings from the National Weather Service issued by 9:15 p.m. Pacific time Sunday for Los Angeles and Ventura counties. This was as powerful thunderstorms passed through Southern California, The New York Post reports.

The National Weather Service reports that heavy rainfall caused 0.47 inches of accumulation in just 15 minutes at Lake Los Angeles. At just before 8 p.m. Pacific, the Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to a call for multiple cars stuck in a mudslide and debris flow in Lake Hughes on Pine Canyon Road. Fire department units were able to hoist people out of their vehicles who were then brought to safety. The mudslides prompted numerous road closures in Lake Hughes Sunday night.

The mudslide occurred on Lake Hughes Road, and fortunately, there were no injuries reported. Public Works is aware of the issue and are working diligently to clear the debris as soon as possible. The Flash Flood Warning extended to Lake Hughes and various burn scars, including the 2020 Bobcat Fire—one of Los Angeles County’s largest on record at 100,000 plus acres. Devastating images of the natural disaster were shared on the New York Post Twitter.

Experts weigh in on the major mudslides

Tropical Storm Kay dumped rain over Southern California throughout the weekend, causing flooding concerns throughout the region. Lake Hughes picked up more than 1.5 inches of rain in the past 24 hours alone. FOX Weather Meteorologist Jane Minar weighed in on the weather conditions. “That is a lot for this area, especially up in the mountain area, Minar said.

“We get that heavier rainfall, it makes it all that more likely we could see that potential for landslides,” she explained. Though the rain has mostly passed, she warns that there could still be more danger ahead. “A lot of the activity and the disruptive weather has moved out, but we could still see some looser soils that could still bring that threat over the next day or so.”

In early January 2018, a number of mudflows hit Southern California. They particularly affected areas north of Montecito in Santa Barbara County. The event caused the deaths of 23 people, although one victim’s body has never been recovered. When large amounts of water or flash flooding accumulate on the ground, it creates a surge of water-saturated debris. This cause what are called mudslides. These types of events often happen on steep slopes that have previously been affected by wildfires where all the vegetation has been destroyed.