Calif. Mudslide Claims Lives; Heavy Rains Continue

January 11, 2005

Any fears of a drought this year in California are likely going by the wayside.

Heavy rains hammered the state again on Tuesday as authorities reported four people were killed and more are missing in a mudslide in La Conchita, which is south of Santa Barbara. To date, 12 people have been killed overall in Southern California since the rain began last week and a number of homes have been damaged or destroyed.

In 1995, La Conchita also fell victim to a large mudslide that caused heavy damage. A barrier wall had been erected to help protect the town, but the wall was apparently completely covered in Monday’s mudslide.

The storm closed down a major section of Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura. The section that runs past La Conchita was swamped with fire trucks, lights, generators and other emergency equipment trying to rescue people from the slide.

Officials said nearly 10 inches of rain had fallen since Friday in areas that included Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley. Downtown Los Angeles received 3.5 inches by late Monday.

To the north, the Sierra Nevada continues to see snow and more snow, as officials said up to 3 feet could blanket the region before it tapers off later Tuesday.

For folks in the Golden State, the sun is expected to make an appearance on Wednesday.

Editor’s note: As of Wednesday morning, 10 deaths have resulted from the mudslide in La Conchita.

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