Mudslides, Flooding in the Wake of California Storm

March 21, 2011; 3:42 PM ET
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Flooding and mudslides triggered by a strong Pacific storm closed highways and displaced some from their homes on Sunday in southern California, with more rain expected farther east today.

The spring's first storm brought several inches of rain, a tremendous amount of mountain snow and damaging winds to the Golden State on Sunday, as warned by Meteorologist Katie Storbeck earlier in the day.

Wrap of Sunday's Storm

Rainfall at the rate of greater than an inch an hour soaked the greater Los Angeles area during the afternoon and early evening hours, leading to numerous traffic accidents and disabled vehicles from high water.

After confirming no one was trapped in this stalled car, a Los Angeles Fire Department engine company moves on to other flooded cars on Vineland Avenue in the North Hollywood area of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)

According to KNBC-TV, about 30 people in 12 homes were evacuated in Woodland Hills, a neighborhood of L.A., when displaced mud and debris threatened a retaining wall.

By nightfall as rain began to taper off, amounts were impressive. Van Nuys measured about 6.50 inches of rain, Santa Barbara topped 5 inches and downtown L.A. reported more than 2 inches.

Powerful winds teamed up with the heavy rain to further disrupt travel to end the weekend. Gusts as high as 65 mph brought down numerous trees, closing the 5 Freeway for a time and knocking out power to thousands.

Farther east, four people were injured and a horse was killed when a structure collapsed in Sandy Valley, Nev.

In the mountains north of L.A., and along the Sierra Nevada chain, snow amounts ranged from 1 to 3 feet. Near mountain tops, winds above 100 mph at the peak of the storm generated life-threatening blizzard conditions.

Rain, Snow Farther East for Monday

Steady rain will continue its trek farther east today, impacting Las Vegas and eventually Phoenix by afternoon. Amounts will be much less than was experienced in California.

Mountains near Flagstaff, Ariz., as well as across Nevada and Utah including the Wasatch Range will have snow pick up in intensity later in the day and tonight. Meanwhile, the Sierra will see snow taper off, with just a few inches expected through the day near Donner Pass.

Across the entire region, clouds and a cool flow off the Pacific will keep temperatures down. In fact, thunderstorms generated by the cooling air could drop some small hail near the San Francisco-Bay Area, as well as through the San Joaquin valley.

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