LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Heavy rains touched off flooding and mudslides in foothill communities north of Los Angeles on Thursday, swamping cars, stranding drivers and prompting authorities to close several major roads.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for parts of northwestern Los Angeles County and northeastern Ventura County, advising motorists to avoid those areas.
"Turn around, don't drown," the NWS said in a statement. "Most flood deaths occur in vehicles."
The Los Angeles Times reported that some 45 firefighters responded to the scene of the mudslides and flooding, working to free drivers who were stranded in their cars.
The rushing water, which was triggered by several inches (cm) of rain an hour over the foothill communities, forced the California Highway Patrol to close parts of the busy Interstate 5 freeway in both directions through the Grapevine pass.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler)