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    More heavy rains in California


    by ODN


    The tail end of a storm that has dumped rain on Southern California for nearly a week has given the region one final lashing.

    Houses have been buried, cars covered in mud, hillsides washed onto highways, urban streets flooded and twelve miles of Orange County beaches have been closed due to the dirty water.

    Inflatable boats and canoes have been used to rescue dozens of motorists and homeowners from flooded streets, hotels and hillsides. Others refused to leave their homes, even as dirty water and mud sliced through their neighbourhoods.

    The storm weakened as it moved eastward, but floods still washed away at least six empty homes in Arizona and inundated parts of Nevada and Utah.

    The low-pressure system could be in New Mexico by Thursday and reach the Gulf Coast by Saturday with some rain, but not the deluge that hit Southern California, forecasters said.

    The storm turned the final days before Christmas into a nightmare, and left some residents fearful that more and bigger mudslides could strike the wildfire-scarred hillsides in suburban Los Angeles even after the skies cleared.

    More than two hundred homes were evacuated for at least 24 hours in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta, suburbs of Los Angeles below steep hillsides that burned in 2009 and where mudslides inundated homes and backyards in February.

    Axl Dominguez woke up early on Wednesday to a bumping sound and looked out the window to a scary sight: plastic trashcans floating down the flooded street. And then the water came rushing into his house: "We didn't have time to get anything. Water started coming in from all the walls. Then the wall fell and we got out through the window," the 15-year-old Dominguez said as he carried his pajama-clad little brother to the truck of a neighbour who finally took them to an evacuation centre".