February 9, 1998 in Nation/World

Californians Start Storm Cleanup More Heavy Rain Forecast For Northern Part Of State Tonight

John Howard Associated Press
 

A day after drenching rain and powerful wind swept through California, crews shored up soggy levees while residents began scraping mud from their lives Sunday.

Gov. Pete Wilson declared states of emergency in five more counties, bringing the total stricken by a week of storms to 27.

A new storm was expected to hit Northern California tonight, with heavy rain but lighter wind than the devastating weather Saturday.

In Southern California, a man was found dead Sunday after a car careened off a collapsed road in the San Fernando Valley.

The man, who wasn’t immediately identified, was killed when the vehicle plummeted about 50 feet into a ravine from a private road that was weakened by rain. The accident was reported Sunday, when a man and a woman who survived crawled from the upside-down car and climbed the ravine to get help.

In the Angeles National Forest, 120 rescuers searched for a young snowboarder missing since Saturday. The boy, whose identity was withheld, was last seen at a ski resort. Wind was gusting strongly when he slid out of resort boundaries into a canyon.

While skies were clear Sunday, two days of rain overburdened creeks and left mountains heavy with snow.

In Sonoma County north to the Oregon line, residents recovering from the wild day Saturday of drenching rains and high wind scraped mud and wind-tossed debris from their homes and yards.

Wind gusts hit 80 mph. At Mount Diablo east of San Francisco, wind was clocked at 125 mph at times during the weekend.

North of San Francisco at Rio Nido, where a half-dozen homes slid down rain-weakened hillsides, residents tried to clean up Saturday.

Crews worked on levees in the largely agricultural Twitchell, Webb, Bradford and Sherman areas in lush farm country, where high wind and strong tides eroded 19th-century berms.

State authorities appeared most concerned about sprawling Clear Lake, about 160 miles north of San Francisco. The Department of Emergency Services said the lake was about 1.3 feet above flood stage Sunday afternoon.

The problem is that when the huge lake fills with runoff, the water has nowhere to go but a narrow creek that is sure to overflow.


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