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article imageCalifornia continues to be deluged with rain, wind and mud

By Jenna Griffith     Dec 29, 2010 in Environment
Southern California has seen its rainiest December in over 120 years – and it isn't stopping yet. Forecasters say most of the rain from a new storm system will fall in the next several hours.
The next few days and nights will also see plenty of rain, along with very cold temperatures and widespread wind, says Fox News. Nearly the entire California coast had gale warnings.
These likely “damaging winds” could reach up to 75 mph, according a National Weather Service Advisory, as reported by the L. A. Times. Gusts will likely be in the 40 – 50 mph range.
Driving conditions will be dangerous all over, but the combination of snow and high winds will particularly affect the Grapevine, according to officials. Drivers are advised to use caution.
So much heavy rain means continued mudslides for many parts of California. Last week in Highland in San Bernardino County, homes had to be evacuated as mud poured from local mountains into an overwhelmed drain channel, creating a muddy mess around the homes, according to the Associated Press.
Engineers in helicopters can be seen checking for signs of cracks and fissures in areas recently ravaged by fires, reports the L. A. Times. As little as a quarter-inch of rain can cause slopes with little vegetation to slide. Areas with more can begin to flow after 10 inches, says Douglas Morton, U.S. Geological Survey landslide expert.
The Los Angeles Times also reported Bob Spencer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works saying, “It gets to the point where the water that's falling is no longer even going into the ground — it's just skipping off the ground. A lot of residents are under the false impression that once the sun comes out, everything is fine. That's not the case. The soil beneath the surface can take months to completely dry out.”
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