Heat wave reaches ‘the tail end’ in Southern California
By The Associated Press | 7:39 a.m.April 30, 2014
A woman sits outside her house as the temperature on Friday soared to more than 60 degrees. Heavy rains from a storm system moved through Southern California, bringing widespread flooding and flash flooding, leaving at least eight people dead and hundreds stranded, officials said Friday.
Heavy rains, including the most intense downpours since the last few weeks of winter storms, pummeled Southern California today, adding to the woes of a region battered by multiple wildfires and mudslides.
The National Weather Service in Oxnard, Oxnard, said that rainfall totals in Ventura County on Friday exceeded 50 inches, which was the record for the season that began with so much foreboding a decade earlier.
In Southern California, the rain was heavier in the Ventura foothills and along Highway 101. In the Santa Clarita Valley, some neighborhoods in the foothills suffered flooding and some roads were blocked by mud. Firefighters from seven agencies in the area were working overnight to keep the flames from spreading.
“There’s definitely been some rain that has brought some fire out,” said Santa Clarita fire Battalion Chief Larry Smith. “I’m trying to hold them back as fast as possible.”
While some residents escaped floods, others remained under roof as they fought the fire and kept families safe in their homes.
“Our goal as a department is to keep the neighborhoods from further destruction and to keep people safe,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.
In Santa Barbara County, a fire that broke out near the mouth of the Santa Ynez River burned through 1,500 acres Tuesday and destroyed eight homes. County officials said fire officials had no control over the blaze until the morning.
Terrazas said the size and scale of the blaze have made it difficult as far as fighting was concerned. Firefighters could do little, he said, “other than to maintain the perimeter.”
In Ventura County, the fire that erupted last week at a ranch northeast of Ventura destroyed seven homes but did not cause any injuries.
In the San Gabriel Valley, fire officials said a wind-driven wildfire east of Los Angeles destroyed several homes but the death toll had not yet been determined. The fire also destroyed more than 100 acres.