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Heavy rains in California leave threat of floods, mudslides

by Jorge Hernandez on December 23, 2010

The heavy rains that plagued southern California for much of the last week moved out of the state on Thursday. In its wake, the storm left the lingering threat of flash floods and a massive cleanup job for residents and local governments, CNN reports.

Bodies of water in the area have overflowed their banks and wreaked havoc throughout the lower part of the Golden State. Suburban streets now resemble rivers of mud and debris.

Some areas of the state received astonishing an astonishing 26 inches of rain. The mountainous areas were also affected. Some places received at least 13 feet of snow over the last five days.

San Bernardino County was hit especially hard. About 40 homes sustained significant damage from mud and water, according to the news source.

The weather has disrupted numerous operations in California, where Amtrack had to suspend service between San Diego and San Juan Capistrano due to the threat of mudslides. The risk of mudslides caused police in Los Angeles county and elsewhere to encourage residents to evacuate.

A number of driveways and cars were also buried in the thick mud, making it impossible for many Californians to get to work. The usually picturesque Laguna Beach was inundated with the sloppy mess, leading to beach closures and an extensive cleanup.

“When I stepped off the engine, (the mud) was about waist deep, and it was flowing rather rapidly," Orange County firefighter George Casario told to ABC News.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in six counties, and thus far the storm has been blamed for the deaths of at least two people.

Though the rain clouds abated on Thursday, experts believe that the area may get more precipitation on Christmas Day.

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