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HomeWorldHeavy rain and snow in U.S. West prompts evacuations

Heavy rain and snow in U.S. West prompts evacuations

LOS ANGELES Intense rain, heavy snow and strong winds pounded California and southern Oregon on Friday, prompting the evacuation of dozens of homes east of Los Angeles, officials said.

The severe storm, with what may be California’s heaviest rainfall in six years, was expected to last through the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

“This looks to be the strongest storm to hit southwest California this season,” it said in a statement.

As much as 10 inches (25 cm) of rain could fall at a rate of 1 inch (3 cm) per hour in parts of southern California on Friday, the weather service said.

The city of Duarte, about 20 miles (32 km) east of Los Angeles, said in a statement it had ordered residents of 180 homes to evacuate given the potential for mudslides.

A forest fire charred an area above their homes last year, prompting concerns that rainwater could displace mud where there is no vegetation.

The downpours in other heavily populated areas of Southern California, including parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties also recently hit by wildfires, could create the risk of mud and debris flows there too, the weather service said.

“There will likely be widespread urban roadway flooding,” it said. “There will also be a significant threat of rock and mudslides, especially near canyon roadways.”

Rain was also forecast for Northern California and southern Oregon, where the weather service issued a flood warning until Friday afternoon.

In higher areas of eastern California and western Nevada, as much as 2 feet (60 cm) of snow could cause whiteouts, forecasters said.

The area should also expect gusts of 75 mph (120 kph), potentially causing widespread power outages on Friday and Saturday, the service said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Brendan O’Brian in Milwaukee; Editing by James Dalgleish)