Evacuation, flood orders lifted after Southern California dodges dangers

March 23 (UPI) — Southern California escaped major mudslides and flash flooding from heavy rains, officials said Friday.

It was feared that slides could occur in vegetation-free areas that were weakened recently by wildfire, but only one mudslide was reported, near Toro Canton.

Evacuation orders in the areas of the Thomas Fire, in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and flood warnings were lifted Thursday. Several roads were closed and traffic on Highway 192 was reduced to a single lane.

Officials said a woman was killed when her car slid down an embankment in San Luis Obispo County and struck a tree — and ten people were rescued from the swollen Salinas River in Paso Robles. A person was also rescued after being trapped in a culvert in Tollhouse in Fresno County.

Numerous traffic accidents were reported across the region, including a bus crash that injured 13 people.

Santa Barbara’s airport received a record 1.8 inches of rain Thursday during brief, but intense, storms. The communities of Paso Robles, Oxnard, Camarillo and Palmdale also saw record rainfall.

“Thursday was always going to be the peak day for [rain in] Los Angeles County,” National Weather Service meteorologist David Sweet said.

Rain fell at the rate of a half-inch per hour in some areas, including the foothills of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Precipitation totals Thursday were higher in the foothill areas, with Rose Valley reporting more than 4 inches.

The 60-foot tall Moccasin Dam near Modesto began leaking and led officials to issue a mandatory evacuation in the area. Floodwaters spilled over the dam, but authorities later said they believed a breach was not imminent.

“For a few moments, it was very stressful because we felt they were going to lose that dam,” Tuolumne County Sheriff James Mele said. “Even though it’s a very small reservoir, the fact of the matter is it would have eroded a lot of the roadway.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Top News – UPI.com