Storm wallops southern CA

Five inches of rain hit southern California Wednesday night, coming on so suddenly that firefighters had to rescue more than 100 people from waist-deep water that reached the doorways of houses and stores.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | November 13, 2003


Five inches of rain hit southern California Wednesday night, coming on so suddenly that firefighters had to rescue more than 100 people from waist-deep water that reached the doorways of houses and stores.

Five inches of rain fell in less than two hours, according to the National Weather Service. Hardest hit areas in southern Los Angeles included the communities of Watts, South Gate, Lynwood and Compton.

Drivers were trapped in their cars during rush hour Wednesday, and thousands of people were still without power Thursday. But skies had mostly cleared by Thursday, though tow trucks were still removing abandoned vehicles ruined by floodwater.

The rainfall was caused by a storm that hit southern and eastern Los Angeles County.

Frequent lightning strikes also caused an unusual number of house fires in the stricken area, and fire fighters were also busy rescuing people trapped in elevators, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A small mudslide hit near the San Bernardino Mountains but emergency crews were able to clear it from Highway 18 near the community Rimforest.

The risk of mudslides in southern California's fire-stricken hillsides remains high. But Wednesday's storm lost much of its strength by the time it reached the burned areas.


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