One likely dead, thousands stranded after southern California storms

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2014 3:27 AM

(Reuters) - One person was believed dead and thousands of people were stranded after storms raged through Southern California mountain communities on Sunday, unleashing mudslides and floods, officials said.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Captain Kyle Hauducoeur said one person was discovered inside a vehicle that had been washed off a Mount Baldy road during the heavy rains roughly 50 miles (80.47 km) northeast of Los Angeles. Rescue crews could not safely reach the car, but the person inside was presumed to have died, he said.

Thousands of others were stranded by the quick-moving waters in the towns of Oak Glen and Forest Falls. Amongst those stranded were some 500 children and chaperones who had arrived at a Forest Falls campground earlier on Sunday but could not leave after roads were covered in debris.

"Our priority is using heavy equipment ... to open access to that camp," Hauducoeur said.

Roads across the area were completely washed out with mud, rocks, trees and other debris, according to pictures posted online by the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

County emergency responders rescued one woman before a mudslide destroyed her Mount Baldy home and damaged four other nearby buildings, Hauducoeur said.

The National Weather Service said flash flood warnings were in effect through the earlier hours of Monday morning in parts of San Bernardino County.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Catherine Evans)