Nightly News   |  March 01, 2014

Winter’s Wallop Isn’t Done Yet

Heavy rain hits drought-ridden California, while the east prepares for heavy snowfall.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> holt: the latest in our seemingly endless wave of severe winter storms is now beginning to sweep across the u.s. drought-stricken southern california ´s already been inundated with heavy rain -- more in the past few days than they´ve had in over a year. nbc´s miguel almaguer joins us now from hard-hit glendora, california , east of los angeles . miguel?

>> almaguer: lester , good evening. these are the mountains they are so worried about. they burned in a wildfire back in january. look at how high that debris is -- in some areas, more than 14 feet tall. the big concern is it´ll come out of this basin and into this million-dollar community downhill. but so far, so good. pounding rain, thunderstorms, and dangerous mudslides. 25 miles east of los angeles , debris continues to pour into backyards along ridge view drive. just down the road, during a lull between storms, a race to clear the mud.

>> man: i´m trying just to give the water some place to go.

>> almaguer: that next winter wallop rolled in quickly. tonight, 1,000 homes are threatened by the hillside above.

>> jeffers: mandatory evacuations will remain in effect until we have an opportunity to get through these storms and our engineers have an opportunity to get that intel back to us.

>> almaguer: with nearly a foot of rain falling in some areas, creeks are swollen, roads have flooded, debris is everywhere. steve sheridan and his crew with the l.a. county flood control must keep the mud moving.

>> sheridan: everything you see here being held behind this structure, if this structure was not here, would have ended up in the community down below us.

>> almaguer: for california , this has been a winter of extremes. in january, wildfires. and even now the state remains in extreme drought.

>> domenigoni: we´ve got three. yeah, three inches.

>> man: three?

>> domenigoni: yeah. guess we´ll see what happens.

>> almaguer: neil domenigoni a fifth-generation farmer and rancher, says even with this recent downpour, his wheat harvest is ruined.

>> domenigoni: look at that plant there. it´s dead. i think the rains are just too late.

>> almaguer: from farms to cities, this winter of extremes has crippled california . tonight, forecasters say this storm has almost passed, but the threat is far from over. tonight, high tide threatens low-lying areas while here in the foothills, these basins are holding. the mountains, however, will need to take another onslaught of rain to stay steady. lester ?

>> holt: that same massive weather system´s now pushing east, and some 140 million people are in its path. weather channel meteorologist kim cunningham joins us now with the latest on what to expect. kim?

>> cunningham: well, lester , we can expect a lot of snow and a lot of ice. so expect major travel problems as you´re traveling from the midwest to the ohio valley . look at that forecast. it´s going to be ice and snow on top of it. if you´re in indianapolis, cincinnati, that´s what you can expect. the mid-atlantic, the northeast, sunday night into monday is where we´re gonna see our major problems just in time for rush-hour traffic. now, i talked about power outages. we´re going to see that, little rock to lexington. travel conditions will be hazardous in this region, as ice will be accumulating out there on the roadways and on the trees. and that´s where some of the problems are gonna start to occur. 5 to 8 inches of snow, st. louis. little rock looks like ice, but no snow for you. if you´re heading towards parts of the ohio valley , over a foot of snow possible here. d.c., including you. new york, we´re talking 3 to 5 inches of snow. so this storm is a big one affecting a lot of people.