Storms Trigger Mudslides in Calif. Burn Areas, Kill 2


In Southern California, residents of the hillside communities of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria who evacuated flames and smoke in December were ordered to leave again because rain could wash dirt and debris into neighborhoods.

Firefighters rescued a 14-year-old girl after she was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in Montecito Tuesday.

The wildfires, including several blazes a year ago, have burned acres of protective brush on hillsides, leaving little to no vegetation to prevent mudslides and debris flow, The first major storm of this rainy season was expected to drench Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and Los Angeles overnight Monday through Tuesday. "Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where risky mud and debris flows are possible".

The wettest rainstorm of the winter dumped steady rain in fire-ravaged Northern California communities but only some fallen trees and minor rockslides were reported overnight.

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Downtown Sacramento set a record Monday recording more than 2 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Crews are rescuing residents from homes as mud and debris from wildfire-scarred hillsides inundate Southern California neighborhoods during a powerful winter storm. Helicopters were being used even during the downpours because of blocked roads. DEVELOPING: More details will be added to this report as this becomes available.

Parts of California affected by recent wildfires are at heightened risk of mudslides due to heavy rains. Thousands were without power.

The first significant storm of the season is walloping much of the state with heavy rain, snow and strong winds.

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Parts of California contending with the aftermath of devastating wildfires will have to contend with more danger from Mother Nature, time, in the form of rain storms.

Emergency management officials said the storm is expected to produce heavy rain, high winds and extremely unsafe flash flooding, mud and debris flows in and below the burn areas.

Water and debris in lanes shut down coastal US 101 and traffic accidents on rain-slicked roadways across the region slowed the Tuesday morning commute to a crawl.

Forecasters issued flash flood warnings and predicted that the cold front with powerful winds could bring more rain to central Los Angeles than recorded over the past 10 months.

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A winter weather advisory was in place for mountain areas, where officials warned motorists to prepare for hard travel conditions, including gusty winds, low visibility and snow-covered roads.