California flood ecavuees returning home
Flood fears in the San Joaquin Valley subside after creek cleared of debris.
LOS ANGELES — Thousands of residents of the San Joaquin Valley farming community of McFarland were cleared to return home Monday after fears of major flooding prompted evacuations.
At one point, an estimated 400 to 500 homes were in danger as the result of stormy weather that has gripped California since late last week, triggering mostly minor flooding, mudslides, road closures and power outages.
Forecasters warned of worsening conditions Tuesday and Wednesday, as more storms bare down on the state and threaten to dump another 5 to 10 inches of rain.
In McFarland, resident Cristian Abundis, who lives on a street where water had been running a foot deep, returned from an evacuation center and was filling sand bags.
“We just want to be prepared,” he said, dropping the bags around his doors and driveway.
Gary Farrell, general manager of the McFarland Parks and Recreation District, said the flooding was caused when Poso Creek, which runs south of McFarland, became clogged with debris and the creek overflowed. Santa Fe Railroad crews cleared the debris.
Elsewhere, a small twinengine airplane was reported overdue on a 65-mile flight from Palm Springs to Chino, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department intended to conduct a search while the Federal Aviation Administration checked with other airports to see if the pilot had diverted, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The Aero Commander’s trip was under visual flight rules, meaning the pilot did not plan to talk to controllers.
Virtually the entire state was affected by the bad weather. On Sunday, rainfall records for the date fell, numerous traffic accidents snarled roads and trees tumbled.
Some locations in Southern California had received more than 12 inches of rain, said meteorologist Jamie Meier of the National Weather Service. It was the most rainfall in one storm event since 2005, he said.
“That will make for a pretty good wallop, especially considering how dry things have been for the last two years,” Meier said.
The California Highway Patrol reported traffic deaths Sunday. A 3-yearold boy was ejected from an SUV that went out of control in heavy rain in the Fresno area, and a 22-yearold man was thrown from a vehicle that crashed in the Bakersfield area.
Sandbags and K-Rails protect homes from rushing water in an area that sits below where the 2009 Station Fire occurred and is now in danger of flooding, Sunday in La Canada Flintridge, Calif.