The Heat Is Online

California Hit By Successive Floods

California Hit By Second Round of Storms Jan. 12, 2001

A second, but weaker round of winter weather is smacking California, just one day after a fierce storm delivered flooding rains, high winds and heavy mountain snow.

Roads are treacherous in many areas again this morning because of snow and rain. It's nearly a repeat of yesterday's conditions, in which at least four people were killed in weather-related traffic accidents.

"Of course the roadway is wet and slippery, but I think the motorists are aware of that after yesterday and driving more carefully," said California Highway Patrol Officer Shirley Gaines.

Roofs collapse, roads impassable, cars flood

Storm damage is being tallied today. Roaring waves demolished a hotel pier in Long Beach and tidal surges broke apart docks in Channel Islands Harbor.

About 75 cars are soaked after the Sherman Oaks parking garage they were in flooded. A dozen other cars were flooded in Dana Point, when water gushed down a hillside into an underground hotel garage.

Heavy rain collapsed portions of roofs of two commercial buildings in Burbank and near Orange County's John Wayne Airport.

The Ortega Highway between San Juan Capistrano and Riverside County was closed when landslides sent three feet of mud onto the roadway. Elsewhere in the region, rains triggered rockslides and a sink hole.

Snow, rather than rain spelled trouble for drivers and their cars in the mountains. Snow levels dropped below 3,000 feet, making tire chains necessary for motorists who had to travel on mountain roads.

"We can't even count how many cars are stuck on the side of the road," said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Jerry Beardsley, as he surveyed the snowy scene in the mountain resort town of Big Bear Lake.

In central California, a state park ranger reported a water spout off the coast of Montana de Oro. A water spout is a funnel cloud, which rotates over water and does not reach land.

"It touched down on the ocean and sucked water up until it had a really good shape," said John Trammer, a park ranger.

Weather was blamed for 169 flight cancellations at San Francisco International Airport on Thursday, but officials expected to resume normal schedules today.

The storm put an additional strain on the state's crippled power system, but rolling blackouts were avoided after Oregon and Washington supplied additional electricity to California.

More expected today

With more waves and rain expected today, precautions are in place to avoid more damage. Sandbags are piled high along the beaches in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. A 20-foot surf is battering the shoreline there.

Sandbags are also in place in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks, to prevent mudslides in an area where a wildfire stripped the hillsides last month.

Forecasters said an additional inch of rain could fall in California today, but the storm should weaken by this evening.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.