Storm lashes Cal­i­for­nia and leaves pol­luted wa­ter

The Pak Banker - - International -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dents who en­dured flood­ing, mud­slides and evac­u­a­tions dur­ing a week­long on­slaught of rain now have an­other prob­lem: con­tam­i­nated wa­ter and fouled beaches.

The rain washed trash, pes­ti­cides and bac­te­ria into wa­ter­ways, prompt­ing health warn­ings. Four beaches were closed in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia's San Ma­teo County and an­other 12 miles of beach from La­guna Beach to San Cle­mente in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia's Orange County were off-lim­its be­cause of sewer over­flows.

While the rain eased on Wed­nes­day, the dan­ger was not over for foothill res­i­dents liv­ing be­low wild­fire-scarred hill­sides.

"The ground is so sat­u­rated it could move at any time" and the threat will re­main for sev­eral weeks, said Bob Spencer, spokesman for the Los An­ge­les County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works.

More than 200 homes were or­dered evac­u­ated for more than 24 hours in La Canada Flin­tridge and La Cres­centa, sub­urbs of Los An­ge­les be­low steep hill­sides that burned in 2009 and where mud­slides in­un­dated homes and back­yards in Fe­bru­ary.

Af­ter days of re­lent­less rain, long-awaited sun­shine was fi­nally in the fore­cast for Thurs­day, but of­fi­cials said Cal­i­for­ni­ans may want to re­sist the urge to head to the ocean.

"It can be very nice the next day and ev­ery­one says 'This is great! This is a beach day,'" said Jonathan E. Field­ing, di­rec­tor of the Los An­ge­les county pub­lic health depart­ment. "It could well be but we will be mon­i­tor­ing and test­ing wa­ter and we won't rec­om­mend peo­ple go back there un­til we're sure it's safe."

Ex­perts nor­mally rec­om­mend wait­ing 72 hours af­ter a storm be­fore get­ting in the wa­ter, though in this case some are say­ing five days might be wiser. The con­tam­i­na­tion in some ar­eas could last for weeks be­cause of the es­pe­cially heavy rains.

Mark Gold, pres­i­dent of Heal the Bay, a Santa Mon­ica based group that mon­i­tors and grades beach wa­ter qual­ity said more rain causes more pol­lu­tion to get flushed into the re­gion's wa­ter sys­tem

"Lit­er­ally ev­ery beach gets an 'F' when we get a rain storm like this," he said. "It's big enough to pol­lute each an ev­ery beach in LA County. It's a pretty ex­tra­or­di­nary event when we have rain like this."

Sixty peo­ple were res­cued and more than 30 homes evac­u­ated Wed­nes­day when wa­ter surged through Dove Canyon, a gated Orange County com­mu­nity. In High­land, about 65 miles east of Los An­ge­les, two creeks over­flowed, swamp­ing as many as 20 homes in up to 3 feet of mud. Up to 40 homes and around 100 res­i­dents were evac­u­ated. -Ap

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