LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stormy weather has gripped California since late last week, triggering mostly minor flooding, mudslides, road closures and power outages.
Forecasters warned of worsening conditions Tuesday and Wednesday, as more storms bore down on the state and threatened to dump another 5 to 10 inches of rain.
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Elsewhere, the California Highway Patrol reported two rain-related traffic deaths Sunday. A 3 year-old boy was ejected from an SUV that went out of control in heavy rain in the Fresno area, and a 22-year-old man was ejected from a vehicle that hydroplaned and crashed in the Bakersfield area.
A small twin-engine airplane was reported overdue Monday on a 65-mile flight from Palm Springs to Chino, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department was to conduct a search while the Federal Aviation Administration checked with other airports to see if the pilot diverted, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.
The Aero Commander’s trip was under visual flight rules, meaning the pilot did not plan to talk to controllers.
Virtually the entire state was affected by the bad weather. On Sunday, rainfall records for the date fell, numerous traffic accidents snarled roads and trees tumbled.
Some locations in Southern California received more than 12 inches of rain, said meteorologist Jamie Meier of the National Weather Service. It was the most rainfall in one storm event since 2005, he said.
“That will make for a pretty good wallop, especially considering how dry things have been for the last two years,” Meier said.
Flash-flood watches and warnings were in effect Monday for some places, particularly mountain areas still scarred by wildfires.
Residents of La Canada Flintridge were among those keeping a wary eye on the rain after a 250 square-mile wildfire last year denuded towering slopes above communities along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
More than 40 homes in the hillside city just north of Los Angeles were damaged or destroyed by a mudslide in February.
“We’ve just had some sprinkling rains today. Occasionally it gets a littler harder but nothing to worry about,” said Del Tucker, a retired geologist who has lived in the area since homes were built there in 1962.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews were working to restore power to the last of about 282,000 customers that lost electricity since the storm arrived. Southern California Edison had 13,000 customers still without power Monday.
Repair crews braced for predicted winds of up to 45 mph, along with heavy rain and snow in elevated areas.
“We’re getting both rain and snow. The thing that we’re seeing right now, we’re starting to get reports of winds, and winds are what can cause more problems than the rain itself,” Edison spokesman Steve Conroy said.
Elsewhere, a 20-mile stretch of scenic Pacific Coast Highway between Malibu and Oxnard was closed to commuters after a rock and mudslide Sunday night. The California Highway Patrol said no one was hurt. PCH also was closed for a time in Orange County by a mudslide at Dana Point.
In the Inland Empire, a mudslide closed part of Interstate 215 in San Bernardino County. Areas of the county that burned recently were under close watch, said fire spokeswoman Tracey Martinez.
“We’re doing preparation because the height of the rain for our county is going to be Tuesday and Wednesday,” she said. “There’s thousands and thousands of sand bags, and I don’t know how many tons of sand we’ve placed everywhere.”
Eastbound Highway 71 in eastern Los Angeles County was closed because of potholes and flooding, and a number of mountain roads were closed.
A eucalyptus tree fell onto a home in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles, and a 40-foot tree toppled onto an apartment building in suburban Glendale.
In the San Bernardino Mountains, a 100-foot tree fell between two businesses in downtown Big Bear but only damaged a gazebo.
“It couldn’t have landed more perfectly if we’d planned it,” said Tiffany Swantek, a spokeswoman for the local sheriff’s station.
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