Cleanup begins after Calif. mudslides

Thousands stranded, one dead in Southern California

August 5, 2014

Mudslides and flash floods that raged through Southern California mountains following heavy rains killed one man, damaged homes and cut off a foothill community, leaving rescuers clearing blocked roads and residents cleaning up.

About 2,500 people were stranded after thunderstorms caused mountain mudslides in Southern California, while one person was found dead in a flooded creek Sunday, authorities said.

Road crews using bulldozers cleared away rocks and mudslides Monday to reach over two thousand residents of a San Bernardino mountain resort area and around 500 kids and adults stranded at a church camp after torrential rain storms.

The mudslides and flooding were triggered by weekend thunderstorms that unleashed some five inches of rain in less than two hours in parts of San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, San Bernardino firefighter and public information officer Chris Prater said.

“We had a freak summer storm that brought a lot of rain in a very short amount of time,” Prater said. “The ground cannot absorb that much water and you have these flash floods as a result.”

Many residents in the popular Southern California mountain resort area had been forced to “shelter in place,” particularly in Oak Glen, with a population of 1,500, and Forest Falls, with 1,000.

The muck from the mud and rain was so thick it submerged a van in Forest Falls. As many as 8 homes were “likely lost,” according to San Bernardino Fire Capt. Jeff Britton.

Monsoonal moisture brought brief but fierce storms to mountain, desert and inland areas. In an around Palm Springs, knee-deep water flooded city streets and stranded vehicles.

All the water was desperately needed elsewhere in the state. In northern and central California, firefighters battled more than a dozen fires. Crews created a six-mile fire line to protect the town of Burney.

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