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Cleanup Begins After Calif. Storms Kill 9


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Cleanup Begins After Calif. Storms Kill 9

http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/news/story.jsp...ide&floc=NW_1-T

 

 

By RYAN PEARSON

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The sun began poking through the clouds Wednesday as California emergency crews shifted into cleanup mode after a six-day drenching that killed at least nine people, destroyed dozens of houses and flooded roads and airports.

 

The Transportation Department hurried to clear at least 20 major roads closed by mudslides and flooding, and in Malibu, crews prepared to destroy a boulder the size of a house that dangled precariously above the Pacific Coast Highway, held back by only a retaining wall.

 

Engineers also fanned out across Los Angeles to assess whether houses on slipping soil were still habitable. Seven more homes were added to a list of dwellings that are considered too dangerous to enter, bringing the total to 106.

 

Rain fell early in the day across part of Southern California but was expected to taper off as the storm's center headed east along the California-Mexico border.

 

 

 

The storms began last Thursday, bringing 9.14 inches by Wednesday morning to a city where the average for an entire year is about 15 inches. Damage in Los Angeles County alone was estimated at $52.5 million.

 

In Ventura County, the small Santa Paula airport remained closed after more than 155 feet of runway crumbled into the rushing Santa Clara River. Mudslides forced Amtrak to suspend train service between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara through at least Thursday.

 

Among those killed were a man who was driving when a eucalyptus tree fell on his pickup truck in San Diego County and a 16-year-old girl who was doing homework in an apartment bedroom when boulders hit her home near Irvine.

 

Mayor James Hahn is seeking a federal disaster declaration, which could open the way for aid from Washington.

 

Rainfall since July 1, when California begins its yearly rainfall measurements, now totals 34.36 inches - more than Seattle or Portland and the most in Los Angeles since 1889-90. The record for a single year - 38.18 inches - was set in 1883-84.

 

 

02/23/05 18:24

 

 

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