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Officials perform dramatic rescues, seek missing hikers as rains hit L.A. area for sixth straight day

December 21, 2010 |  6:14 am

Firefighters performed several dramatic rescues as Southern California was hit by a sixth straight day of heavy rains -- with another powerful storm on the way.

Forecasters said Tuesday that the region will see scattered morning showers, heavy at times. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, another major storm is expected to move into Southern California, producing heavy rains. The rains will continue at least through Wednesday night, forecasters said.

Swollen streams and rivers trapped motorists, highways were flooded, and several mud and rock slides were reported late Monday night and into Tuesday:

--In Orange County, several motorists were rescued late Monday as a creek overflowed in Holy Jim Canyon, but four hikers remain trapped in that general area. Officials said a search would resume Tuesday morning.

--Orange County Fire Authorities personnel used bulldozers to navigate a swollen stream in Trabuco Canyon, rescuing five men.

--A woman who was swept away in her pickup while crossing a rain-swollen creek in the San Bernardino National Forest was rescued Monday night after a harrowing four-hour recovery effort, officials said.
The 29-year-old woman was crossing Lytle Creek north of San Bernardino shortly before 5 p.m. in her Ford pickup when the high water washed away the road and started carrying the vehicle downstream. As water filled her cab up to the dashboard, the woman used her cellphone to call for help, officials said.

--Portions of Wrightwood were evacuated due to flood threats.

--Highway 1 remains closed through a eight-mile stretch of Ventura County due to rock and mud slides.

--Trees fell onto homes and cars in several cities.

--Thousands remained without power due to the storms.

More than 5 inches of rain have already fallen in downtown Los Angeles this month, and the record of 8.77 inches for December is within reach. Mammoth Mountain has already recorded the highest December snow levels ever.

So far, there have been no major mudslides reported in areas burned by recent brush fires.


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Photo: Traffic lights are reflected in high water on Indiana Avenue at the Ramona Expressway during heavy rains. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times