Northbound Pacific Coast Highway was closed at the Incline heading toward Malibu on Thursday morning, Dec. 30, due to a deluge of rain that dropped more than 3 inches of precipitation on Santa Monica in the last days of 2021.
As of 9:25 a.m., a Caltrans social media post reported: “northbound State Route 1 (PCH) closed at the Santa Monica bluffs/Ocean Ave. onramp due to a mudslide. Traffic being taken off westbound I-10 at Lincoln Blvd. off ramp. City of Santa Monica is clearing drains at top of the bluffs.” Earth movers could be seen removing debris from the roadway into the late morning.
Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) spokesperson Captain Patrick Nulty reported there were no injuries associated with that mudslide.
“The SMFD has been busy due to the rain event over Southern California,” Nulty wrote in an email on Thursday morning. “This morning we responded to several reported mud slides on Palisades Beach Road from the Bluffs, all of them were minor but required clean up and did impact traffic. No reported injuries as a result.”
Nulty also reported many of the service calls were false fire alarms or electrical shorts, all due to the rain, but none of them causing any injuries.
Overnight from Wednesday into Thursday, SMFD responded to an urban search and rescue call, or USAR, which also did not result in any injuries.
“Last night we responded to a report of a ‘Building Collapse’ which ended up being a partial ceiling collapse as a result of an accumulation of rain water on [the] roof top,” Nulty wrote. “Firefighters assisted the occupant with clean up and water evacuation. No injuries reported.”
The call was reported at the 1000 Block of 20th Street around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The National Weather Service reported two-day rainfall totals of 3.31 inches at Santa Monica Airport as of 10:30 a.m.; Topanga Canyon received 5.38 inches of rain in the same span, with the highest rainfall totals recorded in Los Angeles County being in the Angeles National Forest east of LA, where more than 7 inches of rain fell at Cogswell Dam.
The heavy rainfall caused dangerous conditions around Southern California, including necessitating the rescue of 22 campers at Leo Carrillo in Malibu, where they were stranded due to rising creek water in the early morning hours of Thursday. The City of Malibu reported all 22 people were evacuated to safety thanks to the combined efforts of the Ventura and LA County fire departments, together with LA County Lifeguards and California Highway Patrol.
As of noon, the Grapevine was closed over the Tejon Pass, closing the I-5 and cutting off the major artery between Northern and Southern California.
Public agencies pull the call out to drivers to “turn around, don’t drown” in the face of floodwaters, reporting that small cars can be swept away in as little as 12 inches of moving water.