SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

March 3, 2014

Evacuation orders lifted after Calif. storm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Residents in three California foothill communities headed home yesterday after a powerful storm that threatened to unleash mud on neighborhoods beneath unstable hills scarred by recent wildfires.

With the storm reduced to sprinkles, residents in the Los Angeles County cities of Glendora and Azusa were allowed back into their homes. Monrovia residents were allowed back late Saturday, officials said.

The storm — the largest since 2010 — kept emergency planners and rescue crews busy, but it didn’t produce enough rain to pull California out of a crippling drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state’s vast farming industry.

The precipitation will bring the Los Angeles region to about half its normal rainfall for the season, Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, told the Los Angeles Times.

“This is no drought-buster, but it’s a nice, fat down payment” in the water bank, he said.

In downtown L.A., the skies cleared in time for the red-carpet arrivals at the Academy Awards, but rescue teams and cleanup crews were still busy.

A swift water-rescue team plucked four hikers from rising waters in a risky overnight rescue yesterday in Malibu.

The hikers, who were trapped between a high wall and the rising waters in Malibu Creek State Park, were whisked out by helicopter uninjured but cold and exhausted.

In San Diego County, search and rescue teams discovered the body of a 55-year-old man whose kayak was found upside down Saturday at Lake Sutherland Dam in Ramona.

The man, whose name has not been released, was found dead about 10 a.m. yesterday, sheriff’s Lt. Jason Vickery said.

High surf breached a sand berm in Long Beach late Saturday during an usually high tide, said Will Nash, a spokesman for the Long Beach Fire Department.

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