California gets day off from stormy weather

AP News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 7:02 PM
California gets day off from stormy weather

Miles of Southern California beach remained closed Tuesday from a sewage spill stemming from a major spring storm, and forecasters said California would get only one day to dry out before wet weather rolls in again.

The weekend storm that dumped up to 10 inches of rain in some areas overwhelmed some sewage systems.

About 250,000 gallons of wastewater spilled into the Los Angeles River flood control channel in Studio City on Monday and ran 40 miles downstream to the ocean, prompting the city of Long Beach to close all its beaches.

The ferocity of the storm caught weekend campers and hikers by surprise.

Yosemite National Park closed temporarily due to a power outage and roads blocked by heavy snow, fallen trees and mudslides. Several hundred tourists evacuated the park, although campers at six sites and 150 guests of park hotels chose to remain.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said the park will be without electricity for three to six days because a rock slide broke an integral transmission pole that serves Yosemite and El Portal, cutting power to 585 customers there. The utility must fly in a replacement pole by helicopter since snow is blocking vehicle access to the location, officials said.

All park access roads remained closed to traffic, park officials said, though one lane of Highway 120 is open for visitors wanting to leave the park.

Thirty-two people were rescued from Los Padres National Forest on Sunday and Monday. Additionally, a Boy Scout troop of 12 children and six adults was rescued Monday from Figueroa Mountain in Santa Barbara County. They were stranded overnight when creeks became impassable.

And a rock slide has blocked the only road in and out of a neighborhood in the Santa Cruz mountains. Fire officials say the residents of 33 homes outside of Scotts Valley, an unincorporated area about 35 miles southeast of San Jose, can't leave their homes by car, although families are using a footpath in and out of the road-blocked area.

Clearing the slide could take anywhere from a day to two weeks, officials said, and rain forecast for this weekend could cause the slide to shift some more.

The storm was caused by a low-pressure front sweeping down from the Gulf of Alaska.

More wet weather was on the way, said Stuart Seto, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

A chance of rain beginning Wednesday will build to 70 percent by evening, he said. The expected storm will dump up to an inch of rain in the Los Angeles area while bringing snow above 4,500 feet in the mountains and 40 mph wind gusts to some areas, Seto said.

The chance of rain will continue through the weekend accompanied by chilly weather that will keep high temperatures in the low 60s in Los Angeles.

"Keep the umbrellas handy," Seto said.

The storm last weekend brought the seasonal rain total for Los Angeles to more than 18 1/2 inches _ some 5 inches more than the average for the whole season.

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Associated Press writers Gosia Wozniacka in Fresno and Marcus Wohlsen in San Francisco contributed to this report.