The California Death Storms

    January 9, 2005

The Sierra Nevada received its biggest snowfall since 1916, only the latest in an onslaught of storms to hit California.

The weather is blamed for at least seven deaths this weekend in Southern California … including a homeless man killed by a landslide Sunday.

The storm is amazing long time California residents as reported by the AP. “I’ve lived here for almost 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Peter Walenta, 69, said Sunday from his home in Stateline, on the southern end of Lake Tahoe. “This baby just seems to be stretching on forever. Right now I’m looking out the window and it’s dumping.”

The AP continues:

“”You’d have to go back to 1916 to top this sequence of storms,” National Weather Service forecaster Tom Cylke said Sunday of the snow accumulation in Reno.

Flash flood warnings were posted throughout Southern California. Residents of a mobile home park in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles, were evacuated Sunday after 5 feet of water spilled in from a creek.

“An eight-foot masonry wall that was protecting the structures gave way and water is rushing into all the houses,” said Inspector John Mancha. Authorities weren’t immediately sure how many people were evacuated.

A two-story home collapsed in the Studio City area above the San Fernando Valley. A man and his two children were pulled from the rubble with minor injuries.”

In the San Bernardino mountains, the AP is reporting that 180 people were rescued after spending 12 hours stuck in deep snow that engulfed them.

“Rescue crews used tracked vehicles to pick up the snowbound motorists in the mountains. Many of the vehicles remained abandoned while the roads were being cleared of snow.

“People were panicking and calling 911 on their cell phones,” said the spokesman for the San Bernardino County fire department. No serious injuries were reported.”

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