Californians Fear Flash Flooding, Mudslides


LOS ANGELES -- California is getting drenched with desperately needed rain after one of the worst droughts in years.

The National Weather Service predicts the storm could bring the most rain Southern California has received in almost two years.

Many in the state prayed for rain and downpours soaked the region, with more on the way.

Forecasters said the rainfall totals will reach up to 3 inches across the coasts and valley, with up to 6 inches possible in the foothills and mountains.

"We need it," Californian Jerry Dean said. "I don't necessarily like it, but we need it."

In the Bay Area, the storms snapped trees and wreaked havoc on the roads. More than 100 crashes were reported in L.A. County.

On Thursday, residents of some 1,000 homes in the suburbs of Los Angeles were forced to evacuate.

Morgan Marich only had time to take a suitcase with "papers and special items."

Meanwhile, a 10-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway is closed in Ventura County because of the likelihood of rock slides.

There are also big worries about flash flooding and mudslides in areas recently burned by wildfires.

Residents in the path of the storm prepared for the worst, filling sandbags around their homes.

"I think we are aware that a lot or rain in a short period of time could create some problems with mudslides," resident Matt Elam said.

AccuWeather's Bernie Rayno predicted, "It's going to cause major problems on Friday from the possibility of flash flooding to mudslides to major travel delays."
Forecasters said the full force of the storm could be felt Friday morning, with rain falling up to an inch per hour.

The same storm will move across the country over the weekend. It could bring snow, ice and rain to the central and eastern United States by Sunday and Monday.

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