Severe storm heads East leaving trail of mudslides, flooding in California, USA

Disaster Alert

Californians cleaned up Saturday after a major storm soaked the drought-stricken state before moving east to drop rain on the Southwest.
 
Perhaps the biggest job was in Camarillo, about 80 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles, where a mudslide on Friday buried houses, making 13 uninhabitable. The debris flowed down a hillside burned by wildfire last year.
 
“It’s quite an earth-moving operation,” said Elton Gallegly, whose wife’s family owns one of the damaged homes and who stopped by Saturday to check on progress.
 
Cleanup also was underway in south Los Angeles, where a small — and rare — tornado briefly touched down, ripping parts off several roofs and knocking down trees.
 
The cleanup came as more rain was forecast for coming days, though the National Weather Service said that precipitation shouldn’t cause the same amount of damage as the recent storm. Weather experts say many more storms are needed to pull the state out of its current water crisis, now in its third year.
APTOPIX California Storms
Power restored
On Saturday, utility crews restored power to nearly everyone who lost it, though roads including a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County remained closed. In mountains east of Los Angeles, ski resorts welcomed up to a foot of fresh snow.
 
The storm was powerful enough that in Northern California, which was hit Thursday by up to 200 millimetres of rain but has been generally dry since, residents of two trailer parks in Redwood City were still bailing floodwaters Saturday.
 
North of San Francisco, Sonoma County residents said they were relieved that the Russian River didn’t overflow its banks as it has in past storms. The river did reach just above flood stage, but the water quickly receded.
 
A few low-lying areas of Guerneville did flood, but damage was minimal in a place where, for example, a 2006 flood caused $300 million in damage.
 
“This is nothing,” Judith Eisen, who has lived for 40 years in one of the neighbourhoods that flooded.
 
As the storm travelled east to Arizona, Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs received about a 76 millimetres of rain overnight, according to the National Weather Service. The northern Arizona city of Flagstaff received roughly half an inch of rain starting around midnight and then snow at around 6 a.m.
 
The weather service forecast more rain in California starting Sunday in the north and Monday in the south — and another storm later in the coming week.
 
One person was found dead on Friday in a rain-swollen flood-control channel in the Orange County town of Garden Grove, which could mark the third storm-related fatality on the West Coast since Thursday.
 
Harsh weather was blamed for two deaths on Thursday in Oregon. In southern Oregon near Ashland, a homeless man camping with his 18-year-old son was killed when a tree toppled onto their tent. Portland police said a tree fell on a car that then swerved into another tree, killing a boy who was a passenger.
 
It was not known whether the body in Garden Grove was a weather-related fatality or a victim who died of some other cause and was washed into the flood channel, officials said.

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