compiled by Dee Finney


Relentless Calif. Storms Kill 2; 2 Missing; 11,000 Without Power After Week of Snow and Rain

January 26, 2008

LOS ANGELES Swaths of California braced for another bout of heavy weather Saturday as a fresh series of storms swirled toward the state.

Photo: City workers retrieve debris from around a couple of partially submerged cars abandoned by their drivers in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. (AP)

Wintry conditions over the past week have already claimed at least two lives, when two died in an avalanche, and authorities were on full alert for mudslides and flash floods in areas denuded by last year's wildfires.

National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Thompson said up to 8 inches of rain would fall in the hills outside Los Angeles starting Saturday evening and area ski resorts could be pounded by as much as 3 feet of powder.

"There's going to be very significant impacts," Thompson said. "Debris and mudflows will be a great concern."

Several storms have been squeezing rain onto Southern California since Monday. Some areas have received more moisture in that time than during the entire rainy season last year.

One man was killed, another critically injured and two were missing after three avalanches swept backcountry slopes in the San Gabriel Mountains outside Los Angeles on Friday, authorities said.

Photo: Heavy snow is piled on the side of the road in the community of Mount Baldy, Calif., north of Claremont. (AP)

Michael McKay, 23, of Wrightwood, was an off-duty ski patroller from the Mountain High resort. He was killed in the first of the three slides. Searchers found another skier, Darren Coffee, in a second avalanche late Friday officials said.

He was declared dead at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center early Saturday, a few hours after rescuers pulled him from a slide in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Cory Kennedy said. The cause of death was not immediately known, nor were Coffee's age and hometown.

A snowboarder was found safe Saturday morning in the San Gabriel Mountains, but the search continued for a second person who went missing in the avalanche.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says the snowboarder walked out of the avalanche area after spending the night in the Wrightwood area.

Angeles National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea said an avalanche advisory was issued for the ski area at nearby Mount Baldy, a 10,000-foot peak about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and the lifts were closed.

Photo: Los Angeles County Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue team members prepare to head out to search for missing snowboarders at Mountain Hight East Resort after an avalanche occurred between Mountain High East and West in Wrightwood, Calif. (AP)

Elsewhere, residents of four Orange County canyons were urged to follow a voluntary evacuation order.

County officials said the order would take effect noon Saturday for residents of Modjeska, Harding, Silverado and Williams canyons, scarred by wildfires last fall.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Orange County between midnight Saturday through Sunday morning.

In Los Angeles, two cars were submerged almost to the door handles on a flooded street in Hancock Park on Friday and a Metrolink train on a morning commute into the city hit a slide of mud and rocks on the tracks. The stranded train was pulled free by another train and 2,000 passengers were delayed by 2 1/2 hours, Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said.

Steady rain soaked much of Northern California as well.

Rain caused delays of up to two hours Friday morning at San Francisco International Airport, and officials expected such delays to continue throughout the day.

Residents in the Marin County towns of San Anselmo and Fairfax are were asked to leave their homes and businesses because of flooding from a nearby creek.



9 dead, 4 missing in central US storm

By BETSY TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer


PIEDMONT, Mo. - Flooding forced hundreds of people to flee their homes and closed scores of roads Wednesday across the nation's midsection as a storm system linked to nine deaths poured as much as a foot of rain on the region.

The National Weather Service posted flood and flash flood warnings from Texas to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and evacuations were under way in parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio.

Heavy rain began falling Monday and just kept coming. Just over a foot had fallen at Mountain Home, Ark., and about 10 inches had fallen by Wednesday morning in southeast Missouri's Cape Girardeau County, where officials said street flooding marooned some residents in their homes. The weather service said 6.2 inches had fallen at Evansville, Ind.

Scott and Marilyne Peterson and their son, Scott Jr., scurried out of their home near Piedmont after seeing water rise 3 feet in five minutes. They had just enough time to grab essentials and their dog.

"You didn't have time to worry," Scott Peterson Sr. said. "You just grab what you can and go and you're glad the people are OK."

The rain in Missouri was expected to finally come to an end Wednesday as the weather system crawled toward the northeast.

Four deaths were linked to the flooding in Missouri, and five people were killed in a highway wreck in heavy rain in Kentucky. Searches were under way in Texas for a teenager washed down a drainage pipe and in Missouri for a man missing in a creek, and two people were missing in Arkansas after their vehicles were swept away by rushing water.

An estimated 300 houses and businesses were flooded in Piedmont, a town of 2,000 residents on McKenzie Creek. Dozens of people were rescued by boat.

Outside St. Louis, the Meramec River was expected to crest 10 to 15 feet above flood stage at some spots, threatening towns like Eureka and Valley Park.

Flooding was widespread in Arkansas, washing out some highways and leading to evacuations of residents in parts of Baxter, Madison, Sharp counties, said Tommy Jackson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The Highway and Transportation Department reported state roads blocked in 16 counties.

In northeast Arkansas, the Spring River was rising at a rate of 6 inches per hour and carrying debris that included full-size trees.

Two motorists were missing in Arkansas after their vehicles were washed away by high water, authorities said.

Authorities in southwest Missouri were searching for another man reported swept away by rushing water. "He was going down the creek screaming and hollering," Lawrence County emergency management chief Mike Rowe said.

Emergency officials in Mesquite, Texas, searched for a 14-year-old boy apparently swept away as he and a friend played in a creek. The friend swam to safety, authorities said.

Up the Ohio Valley, widespread flooding was reported in parts of southwest Indiana and parts of Ohio.

"We've got water rising everywhere," said Jeff Korb, president of the Vanderbugh County, Ind., commissioners. "We've got more than 70 roads under water."

Rescuers in southern Indiana plucked a man from a tree in the Ohio River after his truck was swept away. Knight Township Fire Chief Chris Wathen said the man was conscious but showing signs of hypothermia.

"It's hard for anybody to say how long he could have survived there," Wathen said. "But I do think it was fair to say he was within minutes of losing his life."

Residents of South Lebanon, Ohio a town of about 2,800 people were urged to get out as the Little Miami River was expected to crest at 28 feet, 11 feet above flood stage and the third highest level since measurements began in 1889, said Frank Young, emergency management director in Warren County.

"That would put half of South Lebanon under water," Young said.

Key roads were closed in the Cincinnati area, where water 4 feet deep was reported in businesses in the suburb of Sharonwille, police said. Police contacted at least nine businesses and warned them not to open Wednesday. Northeast of Cincinnati, two members of a cross-country team had to be rescued from a rain-swollen creek after falling in.

The Ohio River at Cincinnati was expected to rise about 2 feet above flood stage by Friday, flooding some neighborhoods outside the city.

Missouri state officials said three people died there, including one man whose car was swept 600 feet down a flooded stream. The Southeast Missourian newspaper in Cape Girardeau reported a fourth death. Kentucky State Police said five people died in heavy rain Wednesday on Interstate 65 in south-central Kentucky when a tractor-trailer, a pickup truck and a van crashed.


Associated Press writers Terry Kinney in Cincinnati, Paul Weber in Dallas, and Chuck Bartels in Little Rock, Ark., contributed to this report.

13 Deaths Caused by Floods in Central US, Including Ohio

 Widespreading flooding throughout the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio this week has led to a total of 13 deaths, with hundreds of more displaced from their homes.

Already dealing with the melting snow from heavy storms just over a week ago, heavy rains pushed rivers and waterways over their banks, flooding towns and forcing residents to flee their homes.

Missouri has been declared a disaster area by President Bush, which makes the state eligible for emergency funding.

In Ohio, although the skies cleared and rain stopped on Thursday, rivers throughout the state were flooding and two major highways in Columbus were closed due to high water. State authorities have warned that many rivers would crest well above flood stages. In Ohio, several days of rain which followed the melting of up to 20 inches of snow is what caused the flooding.

Rainfalls, floods cause 42 deaths in Ecuador
www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-21 10:05:22  
    QUITO, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The two-month long heavy rainfalls and consequent floods in Ecuador have killed 42 people while eight others were missing, said the Civil Defense on Thursday.

    Some 12,372 families abandoned their houses due to the floods and 3,168 were lodged in temporary shelters throughout 13 provinces, said the Civil Defense, noting the floods have caused losses of over 82 million U.S. dollars in the agricultural sector.

    Ecuadoran Interior Minister Gustavo Larrea said the heavy rainfalls have affected some 3.5 million Ecuadorans, almost one third of the country's total population.

    Regions hit most by the disaster are such coastal provinces as Los Rios, Guayas, Manabi and El Oro as well as those Andean provinces of Cotopaxi, Canar, Chimborazo, Loja, Bolivar and Imbabura.

    The Ecuadoran government announced on Thursday that it has allocated some 124 million dollars for repairing the infrastructure damaged in the disaster-hit regions.

Editor: Sun Yunlong