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The Latest: Thunderstorm dumped 1½ inches in an hour

November 29, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on rain in California in regions scarred by wildfires (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A thunderstorm in a wildfire-scarred area of Northern California dumped up to 1½ inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain in an hour, toppling trees and trapping motorists in flooded roads.

National Weather Service meteorologist Craig Shoemaker says the thunderstorm Thursday afternoon caused streams to quickly swell and roads to flood.

He says heavy rain in a short period of time is the worst thing that can happen in the burn scar.

He says there are some reports of debris flowing downhill from Paradise to the city of Chico, 14 miles (22 kilometers) away.

Paradise was destroyed by a blaze three weeks ago and the weather service issued a flash flood warning Thursday, saying heavy rain could unleash mudslides. The warning will be in effect through Thursday night.

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3:15 p.m.

Authorities say people in about a dozen homes need to be rescued from flash floods in an area of Northern California scarred by a wildfire.

Butte County sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Meyer tells television stations KHSL/KNVN in Chico that the situation Thursday is serious and rafts are being deployed to rescue people.

He says water is a couple of feet deep in some places.

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2:50 p.m.

Forecasters say the weather system that has been raining all day on Southern California has developed instability and may produce thunderstorms.

Santa Barbara County has advised residents below wildfire burn scars and near creeks and streams to maintain awareness through Thursday evening. Nearly two dozen people were killed in January when a downpour on the huge Thomas Fire burn zone devastated the Santa Barbara County community of Montecito.

Mud and rock slides have also closed two mountain highways northeast of Los Angeles.

The slides hit State Route 38 in the San Bernardino Mountains, which was closed in both directions, and State Route 2 in the San Gabriel Mountains on Thursday.

The California Department of Transportation also says chains are required on State Route 18 near the resort communities in the San Bernardino Mountains.

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2:15 p.m.

Officials say flash flooding has hit a wildfire-scarred area of Northern California and swift water rescue teams have been deployed.

The teams are helping people stranded Thursday in vehicles on a road that flooded after a downpour in the Paradise area.

Rick Carhart, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, says several vehicles were trapped on a road on the outskirts of Chico.

Carhart says there are also reports of flash flooding in areas that were not burned.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Department ordered evacuations but could not say how many people were affected.

People were being taken to a church in Chico.

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11:35 a.m.

Bands of heavy rain are moving across Southern California, raising concerns about possible mudslides in areas scorched by wildfires.

Orange County authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation Thursday of Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, where a wildfire burned earlier this year.

Rainfall rates in the area reached a half-inch (127 millimeters) or greater in an hour.

Elsewhere in Orange County, Knott’s Berry Farm theme park closed for the day due to the inclement weather.

In Los Angeles, a Fire Department helicopter crew located a man clinging to a tree in the swollen Los Angeles River north of downtown and hoisted him away from the danger.

Coastal health authorities are urging people to stay away from beach water, which may contain bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash and other public health hazards due to runoff.

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7:20 a.m.

The first major storm of the season has jammed Los Angeles-area freeways with accidents but so far there have been no major problems in Southern California wildfire burn zones where there is concern about mudslides.

The National Weather Service says rainfall early Thursday was more variable than initially forecast, but some areas have received several inches and localized flood advisories and watches were issued.

In the vast area burned this month by a destructive fire, the city of Malibu is warning that minor mud and debris flows are possible, and some rocks have fallen onto roads through the Santa Monica Mountains.

Rain is expected to continue through the afternoon, with the possibility of thunderstorms.

The weather service also warns of dangerous surf conditions along the shoreline. Breakers along the central coast are expected to grow to as much as 20 feet (6.1 meters) Thursday morning.

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7 a.m.

A storm moving through California largely missed wildfire-burned areas but officials say a flash flood watch has been extended as rain could still reach the flood-prone spots.

The National Weather Service says Thursday that its watch was extended to sunset for possible flash flooding and debris flows from areas scarred by major fires throughout the state.

It was originally set to expire in the morning but was extended because the threat for stronger rain will linger across much of Northern California.

The storm is moving into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, which could get 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow at lower elevations and up to 20 inches (51 inches) at higher elevations.

Crews cleared drainage ways and removed burned trees that could topple in the area of Paradise, a town devastated by the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century.

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12 a.m.

A storm moving into California is bringing rain that threatens to unleash debris flows in wildfire burn areas and snow that could cause travel problems on mountain roads.

The weather service issued a watch Thursday for possible flash flooding in areas scarred by major blazes throughout the state.

Crews cleared drainage ways and removed burned trees that could topple in the area of Paradise, a northern town devastated by the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. Up to an inch of rain is expected there.

In Southern California, residents are urged to voluntarily evacuate neighborhoods southeast of Los Angeles where a fire burned last summer. Mandatory evacuations are in the city of Lake Elsinore.

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