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Another Storm Flays California Homes Threatened With Mudslides, While Streets, Railroad Tracks Flooded

Tue., Feb. 24, 1998

Southern California was deluged Monday by the most potent El Nino-driven storm so far this season, threatening homes with mudslides and flooding roads and railroad tracks. Two deaths were reported.

In addition to the rain, waves up to 17 feet high crashed ashore along some west-facing beaches. And up to 3 feet of snow was expected in the mountains before the sky clears today.

During the one-day period up to early Monday, 5.14 inches of rain fell at Mount Wilson, just northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The storm’s heaviest rain was expected bring an additional 4 inches.

That would make it the wettest storm so far this season for the southern half of the state, said Vladimir Ryshko at the National Weather Service. It also would give Los Angeles a record amount of rain for February.

In the north, San Francisco also was approaching a record for the month.

Five homes in the Hollywood Hills were evacuated Monday because of hillside movement, and a wall of mud drove 10 people from a Ventura apartment building beneath a hill dangerously close to slipping.

The Ventura County coastal hamlet of La Conchita had a foot-deep river of mud and debris.

“The water runs down this street in particular with bowling ball-size rocks and mud and stuff,” Ventura County fire Capt. Murph Walsh said of one street.

Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu was awash in rocks and mud but remained open.

Flooding in a railroad tunnel forced suspension of Metrolink service on the Antelope Valley line, which usually carries 3,000 commuters daily to Los Angeles.

Amtrak canceled its Los Angeles-to-Seattle Coast Starlight train through today.

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