Calif. storms sparks mudslide fears

/ Source: The Associated Press

A Pacific storm delivered drenching rain Friday to already waterlogged California, causing scattered flooding, caving in the roof of a music store and raising the threat of mudslides.

The storm system, which has been parked off the Northern California coast for several days, is expected to bring sporadic rain and thunderstorms throughout the President’s Day weekend, said Jayme Laber, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service. Most of the rain is expected in central and Southern California.

La Conchita, the coastal hamlet where 10 people died after a bluff collapsed last month, was deserted Friday as the U.S. Geological Survey warned that none of the roughly 150 homes remaining could be considered safe.

The town northwest of Los Angeles continues to face a “rather bewildering variety of landslide hazards,” a USGS report said.

In Moorpark, rain triggered mudslides that forced Amtrak to cancel Los Angeles-to-Santa Barbara commuter rail service from Friday night through Saturday.

Mudslides also posed a threat to homes in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City and in the Orange County cities of Mission Viejo and Anaheim. In Highland Park, east of downtown Los Angeles, a large tree toppled onto a home, but the residents were not hurt.

The showers closed a state highway near Fillmore in Ventura County and prompted a flood advisory in Los Angeles County, where rivers swelled with runoff.

In Burbank, the rain was blamed for collapsing the roof of a Virgin Megastore.

No one was hurt when the store’s roof gave way, sending a torrent of water into the building and destroying thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, according to the Burbank Fire Department.

Some areas were drenched. Between 5 and 7 inches fell Friday in the San Gabriel Mountains. The storm also brought lightening and hail to some areas.

This year has been especially wet for parts of California: Rainfall totals in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are three times above normal, Laber said.

To the north, thunderstorms were expected in the San Francisco Bay area and up to a foot of snow was predicted in the Sierra Nevada.