Floods, mud­slides as storm wal­lops South­ern Cal­i­for­nia

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - OBITUARIES - By Christopher We­ber

LOS AN­GE­LES >> The se­cond round of a fall storm dumped snow and rain that jammed traf­fic on South­ern Cal­i­for­nia high­ways and loos­ened hill­sides in wild­fire burn ar­eas on Thurs­day.

At least one ve­hi­cle got stuck in a mud­slide that shut down Pa­cific Coast High­way and sur­round­ing roads in and around Mal­ibu neigh­bor­hoods charred by last month’s de­struc­tive fire.

Kirby Kotler and his neigh­bors spent days be­fore the storm stack­ing some 18,000 sand­bags be­hind their homes along the high­way — only to see mud, wa­ter and rocks blow through the line of de­fense and across their prop­er­ties. He wielded wa­ter hoses to beat back the flames in Novem­ber. On Thurs­day, he used a trac­tor to keep the de­bris flow from en­ter­ing his home.

“Sav­ing my house once again,” said Kotler, 57, a life­long Mal­ibu res­i­dent. “I’m more than a lit­tle con­cerned. If we get an­other blast of heavy rain there’ll be no stop­ping the hill from com­ing down.”

No­body was hurt when a South­west Air­lines plane from Oak­land skid­ded off a wet run­way as it landed dur­ing down­pours at Hol­ly­wood Bur­bank Air­port north of Los An­ge­les. The plane came to a stop in a graded area de­signed to slow air­craft that over­shoot the run­way, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

“As we landed you could feel the brakes,” pas­sen­ger Grant Palmer told KABCTV. “Then I started notic­ing the plane go­ing side­ways.”

Palmer said he was pre­pared to tuck into an emer­gency pos­ture, but his un­flap­pable co-worker con­tin­ued writ­ing emails dur­ing the rough land­ing.

Cars and trucks slid in lanes amid heavy snow that forced the clo­sure of In­ter­state 5 in the Grapevine area be­tween Los An­ge­les and the San Joaquin Val­ley. The hours-long shut­down along the key north-south route caused back­ups for miles, trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials said.

Mo­torists were urged to use cau­tion on moun­tain passes, where up to 6 feet (1.8 me­ters) of snow was pre­dicted at higher el­e­va­tions.

Manda­tory evac­u­a­tions were or­dered for Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Moun­tains south of Los An­ge­les, where a wild­fire burned ear­lier this year. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice ex­tended flood warn­ings for Orange County even as ad­vi­sories in Los An­ge­les and Ven­tura coun­ties ex­pired.

The sys­tem dumped rain that flooded high­ways and caused night­mare traf­fic con­di­tions for com­muters. A por­tion of south­bound State Route 170 in Los An­ge­les was shut down af­ter mud flowed onto the road­way. Fire­fight­ers res­cued mo­torists from cars stuck in a flooded in­ter­sec­tion in the city’s North Hol­ly­wood area.

Rocks and de­bris flowed through a Mal­ibu canyon com­mu­nity that saw homes burned in Novem­ber and mud­slides dur­ing thun­der­storms last week. City of­fi­cials re­ported no in­juries and no ma­jor prop­erty dam­age. No evac­u­a­tion or­ders were is­sued.

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