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Cold March storm brings more rain, snow to California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Homeowners and work crews cleaned up mudslide damage Thursday as more rain and snow fell intermittently in Southern California while the northern half of the state shivered in cold behind the Pacific storm system.

Winter storm warnings were still in place for mountains stretching from northwest of Los Angeles to east of San Diego. And a flash flood watch was extended until late night in Orange County where a surge of runoff Wednesday damaged a canyon community.

Mud flowed through a half-dozen homes and vehicles were swept along in tangles of debris when rain hit bare slopes above Orange County’s Silverado Canyon. Several people had to be helped out of their homes but no one was hurt, the Orange County Fire Authority said.

The rain hit an area of Southern California’s Santa Ana Mountains where a wildfire struck in December.

“It burned some areas to scorched earth so there was not a lot vegetation, so when there was rain that was sustained for a while the mud and debris just started flowing,” said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

Crews and residents worked to clear the mess.

“Neighbors are helping neighbors,” Concialdi said.

For skiers and snowboarders, the late-winter storm renewed the season on slopes east of Los Angeles.

Big Bear Mountain Resort in the San Bernardino Mountains reported snow accumulations from the storm ranged from 13 inches to 18 inches (33 to 46 centimeters), with more snow falling.

Snowfall was expected to continue into Friday as the cold low pressure system moved through Southern California and eventually into Arizona and Utah, the National Weather Service said.

Freeze warnings and frost advisories were in effect during the morning in parts of northwestern California, with lingering showers across the region.

Another storm system was expected Sunday and Monday in Northern California. The chances for precipitation next week in the south were uncertain.

California’s overall rain and snow totals have been running well below average because of a largely dry winter that persisted through February.

A key indicator of water supplies will come with a Sierra snow survey on April 1, the date when the snowpack is normally the deepest and has the highest water content.

By JOHN ANTCZAK
Associated Press

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