LAGUNA BEACH (AP) — A powerful storm dumped more rain on already waterlogged Southern California on Wednesday, washing hillsides onto highways, endangering houses in canyons and forcing rescuers to pluck dozens of motorists from flooded streets.
The storm was expected to ease as it moved eastward.
In Laguna Beach and adjoining Laguna Woods, rescuers plucked more than 30 drivers, pedestrians and people stuck in their homes as mud and stormwater poured down steep hillsides.
Laguna Beach Police Lt. Jason Kravetz Talks To KNX 1070
“There’s mud and rocks and hillside collapses,” Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz said. “It was too much (rain), too quick.”
One man was rescued from his house after a mudslide pushed in one of the walls, he said.
About a square mile of Laguna Beach, including downtown, was closed as up to 4 feet of water rolled down the streets from Laguna Creek. The water later receded but left an mushy carpet of mud.
As the “Pineapple Express” system swept Pacific Ocean moisture across the southwestern U.S., Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in six counties.
However, the storm was moving eastward out of California and the steady downpour that continued Wednesday morning was expected to turn patchy by afternoon, with fierce but brief squalls, National Weather Service meteorologist Tina Stall said.
(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)