Heavy rain and snow pound California, raising mudslide risk

By REUTERS
February 18, 2017 05:35

 
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LOS ANGELES - Intense rain, heavy snow and strong winds lashed California and southern Oregon on Friday, prompting the evacuation of more than a hundred homes threatened by mudslides near Los Angeles, officials said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said within four hours on Friday afternoon it responded to 150 reports of downed wires, one of which led to a fatality. Los Angeles area utilities said power was out for more than 100,000 customers in the region.

The severe storm could bring California's heaviest rainfall in six years, after months of wet weather that has dramatically eased California's years-long drought. The heavy rain and melting snowpack threatened to undermine a spillway at one of the largest dams in the country, which prompted the evacuation of 188,000 residents earlier this week.

The city of Duarte, about 20 miles (32 km) east of Los Angeles, said it ordered residents of 180 homes to evacuate given the potential for mudslides.

A forest fire charred an area above their homes last year, prompting concerns that heavy rain could trigger mudslides where there is no vegetation.

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