Monday, December 8, 2014

California residents braced for floods and mudslides as rain sweeps state

Amanda Holpunch in the Guardian (UK): A Pacific storm is sweeping through California, providing the drought-stricken state with a brief respite from its arid conditions but triggering fears of mudslides and floods. The downpour, however, will put a minor dent in the three-year drought and comes with mudslide evacuations, traffic hazards and concerns that it could give a misleading impression of the state’s water conditions.

The Los Angeles region could experience its heaviest rainfall in two years. The National Weather Service predicted that up to six inches could fall in the southern part of the state by the end of Wednesday. Authorities on Tuesday issued a mandatory evacuation for 75 homes in Camarillo Springs, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles. The order was lifted at 6pm, though people were urged to voluntarily stay out of their homes. Voluntary evacuation notices were also issued to dozens of other homes in southern California.

San Francisco’s famed cable cars had to shut down during the downpour. The California highway patrol reported an increase in traffic hazards and a large number of car crashes in the Bay Area. Many flights in the region were delayed because of the rain.

Sacramento received 0.53 inches of rain on Tuesday, and was due for another half-inch into Wednesday. Over the next few days, more than four inches of rain are expected in the mountainous parts of the state.

Flash-flood warnings were issued to in parts of El Dorado and Placer counties because of the quick pace of the rain storm. These regions were beset by the King Fire, which covered more than 150 square miles and brought in firefighters from other states including Alaska and Florida. The state has launched projects to fight erosion of the devastated land...

The Golden Gate through the rain drops. A beautiful shot by Brocken Inaglory Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0

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