At Least 4 dead in California Storms; Governor Declares State of Emergency

The California storms have been pouring on to residents as they’ve had to deal with thunderstorms, dumping rain, snow and hail on Monday as the storm flooded roads and homes and trapped people in swamped vehicles.

At least four people repotedly died, and three were missing and others were rescued from raging floodwaters during the storms.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles and Orange counties for the powerful winter storms that have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Brown issued emergency proclamations “to secure funding to help communities respond to and recover from” the storms, which “have caused flooding, mudslides, erosion, debris flow and damage to roads and highways,” according to a statement from Brown’s office.

The proclamations direct Caltrans “to formally request immediate assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program” and order the Office of Emergency Services to “provide assistance to the counties, as appropriate and based upon damage assessments received from local governments.” The proclamation also covers 48 of California’s 56 other counties.

In Los Angeles, receding stormwater revealed a body in dense vegetation at a regional park in the Harbor City area. The cause of death was not known, but the Fire Department said the body may be that of a man reported missing Sunday night.

In Northern California, anguished relatives gathered along a creek in Alameda County southeast of San Francisco as searchers looked for an 18-year-old woman whose car plunged into the rushing waterway after a collision late Saturday.

Two other people remained missing after being reported in waters off Pebble Beach on Saturday. The search along the Monterey Peninsula was suspended.

By afternoon, downtown Los Angeles had recorded 14.3 inches of rain since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, less than a half-inch away from the average for the entire season.

Heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada triggered an avalanche that shut down a highway just west of Lake Tahoe. Officials warned of continuing avalanche danger at all elevations of the Sierra.

Flood watches and warnings remained in place for much of Southern California, a day after nearly 4 inches of rain fell south of Los Angeles, inundating roadways, toppling trees and raising fears of damaging mudslides.

Ryan Schwarzrock, 35, and his wife, Emily Earhart, 32, were at home in Seal Beach, when the rain began to pound. The couple watched the street that winds through their mobile home community fill with water. Then, the water crept over the concrete step leading up to their home.

“It just started seeping in,” said Earhart. “We started getting towels and realized it wasn’t going to do it.”

Low-elevation snow dusted rural communities just north of Los Angeles while resort communities to the east in the San Bernardino Mountains were digging out from more heavy snow. Many schools in the inland region closed for the day.

Brown’s proclamations are designed to provide state assistance to local governments coping with flooding, mudslides and erosion and to help obtain federal emergency funding to fix damaged roads and highways. The proclamations said the damage has created “conditions of extreme peril” to people and property.

A historic WWI-era ship called the S.S. Palo Alto beached near Santa Cruz was torn apart by massive waves Saturday. It had been a landmark since it was intentionally grounded and connected to shore with a pier in 1930 in a failed venture to create a seaside entertainment destination.

source:ocregister.com
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