Storms Batter California for 4th Straight Day

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

More rain on Monday doused Southern California, where a toddler drowned after being wrenched from her mother's grasp by a raging flood, a homeless man was killed by a landslide and a man was carried two miles down a swollen river before being rescued.

The wet weather wasn't expected to let up until Wednesday, with as much as 6 inches of rain forecast in the region through Tuesday and an additional 2 feet of snow at elevations above 7,500 feet. Dense fog and high wind also were expected.

"We're going to be getting more of the same, harsh weather," said Curt Kaplan, a National Weather Service forecaster.

The storm system was blamed for at least nine deaths during the weekend in Southern California, including a man killed when his vehicle plunged into the surf off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and a homeless man killed when the hillside where his tent was pitched gave way.

A 2-year-old girl died after slipping from her mother's grasp as rescuers were lifting them from the family's vehicle, which got stuck in a flooded wash Sunday night, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Don Ford. The woman had driven around barricades, Ford said.

Hundreds of accidents were reported Sunday on roads clogged by water, mud flows and fallen trees, the California Highway Patrol said. And some Metrolink and Amtrak train service was canceled because of storm-related damage and mudslides.

In the Cerritos area, a man whose car went into a surging river was swept two miles downstream, authorities said. Firefighters threw him a rope from a bridge and started pulling him up but he lost his grip and plunged back into the swift current. He was later pulled onto the riverbank. Two children in the car also were rescued.

"The last I heard he is unhurt and in good spirits," fire Capt. Mike Yule told CNN.

The National Weather Service said downtown Los Angeles had received 5.16 inches of rain since Friday, including a record 2.58 inches on Sunday.

About 60 homes were evacuated in a remote community in San Bernardino County because of flooding, and rising water chased about 150 residents out of a neighborhood in Santa Clarita on Sunday.

The same storm has been dumping heavy snow across the Sierra Nevada that stalled an Amtrak train during the weekend, shut down the Reno, Nev., airport for the second time in a week and halted motorists trying to cross the mountains. Winter storm warnings were in effect with as much as 5 feet of new snow possible by Tuesday morning.

Since Dec. 28, up to 19 feet of snow has fallen at elevations above 7,000 feet in the Sierra, with 6 1/2 feet at lower elevations in the Reno area. Meteorologists said it was the most snow the Reno-Lake Tahoe area has seen since 1916.

"It's nice to know that there are places with more snow than the Dakotas," Wendy Wollmuth said while waiting for a flight at Reno-Tahoe International Airport to her home in Moffit, N.D. "We're a bit spooked about being here with all this snow."

In the East, the Ohio River has been flooding parts of West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana since heavy rain last fell on ground already saturated by melted snow from a storm before Christmas.

That storm also produced snow and ice that knocked out power in widespread areas, and authorities believe carbon monoxide poisoning killed five people using generators for electricity in Ohio and two in Pennsylvania.

The Ohio River was 5.8 feet above flood stage Monday at Portsmouth, Ohio, and was expected to begin receding Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. It was 4.3 feet above flood stage Monday at Cincinnati, with a crest of 57.1 feet expected Tuesday, well below the 1997 peak of 64.7 feet.

Across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Covington, Ky., three flood wall gates were closed for the first time since 1997, when the Ohio crested at 64.7 feet. Louisville, Ky., also has installed some of its floodgates as the river is expected to crest Wednesday at nearly 6 feet over flood stage. Water was rising into a riverside park and against the foundations some riverside houses.

Rivers in southern Indiana were rising to their highest levels in about 70 years and conservation officers rescued nearly 150 people and a dozen pets from homes and cars marooned by flooding of Sunday.


KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 1184382 - kbtx.com/a?a=1184382