Storm lashes California, but not a drought buster

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A man places sandbags at the top of a street lined with K-rail and sandbags in Glendora, Calif., as the city and residents prepare for possible flooding Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for 1,000 homes in two foothill suburbs east of Los Angeles in advance of a powerful storm. The cities of Glendora and Azusa issued the orders at midday Thursday for homes that could be endangered by debris flows from nearly 2,000 acres (810 hectares) of steep mountain slopes burned by a wildfire last month. For days, both cities have been making extensive preparations including sandbagging. California received widespread rain Wednesday and early Thursday from the first of two back-to-back storms. The more powerful second storm is due overnight. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

A man places sandbags at the top of a street lined with K-rail and sandbags in Glendora, Calif., as the city and residents prepare for possible flooding Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for 1,000 homes in two foothill suburbs east of Los Angeles in advance of a powerful storm. The cities of Glendora and Azusa issued the orders at midday Thursday for homes that could be endangered by debris flows from nearly 2,000 acres (810 hectares) of steep mountain slopes burned by a wildfire last month. For days, both cities have been making extensive preparations including sandbagging. California received widespread rain Wednesday and early Thursday from the first of two back-to-back storms. The more powerful second storm is due overnight. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Volunteers fill sandbags in the City of Glendora, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. Residents with the help of their city, prepare for possible flooding. In advance of a powerful Pacific storm, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for 1,000 homes in Glendora and Azusa, two of Los Angeles’ eastern foothill suburbs, which are located beneath nearly 2,000 acres of steep mountain slopes left bare by a January fire. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A toppled tree is shown after it fell over in the rain-soaked earth Friday Feb. 28, 2014 in Los Angeles. The first wave of a powerful Pacific storm spread rain and snow early Friday through much of California, where communities endangered by a wildfire just weeks ago now faced the threat of mud and debris flows. (AP Photo/Alicia Chang)

A SUV drives through a flooded portion of a street in Encino, section of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. The first wave of a powerful Pacific storm spread rain and snow early Friday through much of California, where communities endangered by a wildfire just weeks ago now faced the threat of mud and debris flows. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Motorists drive by a flooded portion of Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oak, section of Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. The first wave of a powerful Pacific storm spread rain and snow early Friday through much of California, where communities endangered by a wildfire just weeks ago now faced the threat of mud and debris flows. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California was lashed Friday by heavy rains that the parched state so desperately needs, though with the soaking came traffic snarls, power outages and the threat of mudslides.

Even with rainfall totals exceeding six inches in some places by midday, the powerful Pacific storm did not put a major dent in a drought that is among the worst in recent California history.

The first waves of the storm drenched foothill communities east of Los Angeles that just weeks ago were menaced by a wildfire — and now faced the threat of mudslides. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for about 1,200 homes in the area. Small debris flows covered one street in Glendora, but no property damage occurred, police said.

Forecasters expected the storm to last through Saturday in California before trundling east into similarly rain-starved neighboring states. Phoenix was expecting its first noticeable precipitation in two months.

The threat of mudslides will last at least through Saturday night. Tornadoes and water spouts were possible as the next wave of the storm came ashore Friday.

Rainfall totals in parts of California were impressive, especially in areas that typically don’t receive much, but not nearly enough to offer long-term relief from a long-running drought.

Downtown Los Angeles received two inches before a midday reprieve, but remained about 12 inches below normal rainfall totals for the season.

“We need several large storms and we just don’t see that on the horizon. This is a rogue storm,” National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt said. “We will dry out next week.”

But for this rain, the service said, this would have been the driest December through February on record in Los Angeles.

Rain also fell in the central coast counties, the San Francisco Bay region and the Central Valley. Winter storm warnings were in effect in the Sierra Nevada for heavy snowfall.

Farmer Ray Gene Veldhuis, who grows almonds, walnuts and pistachios and runs a 2,300-cow dairy in the Central Valley’s Merced County, welcomed the wet weather but knew it would not rescue California from drought.

“Hopefully, they keep coming,” Veldhuis said of the storms. “If not, we’ll deal with the hand we’re dealt.”

The storm brought familiar problems.

Numerous traffic accidents occurred on slick or flooded roads across California, including one about 60 miles east of Los Angeles involving a big rig whose driver died after falling from a freeway overpass.

Two men and their dogs were rescued from the swift waters of the Los Angeles River. Hundreds of miles north in San Jose, firefighters also pulled a man from swollen Coyote Creek near a homeless encampment. He was treated for hypothermia.

Power outages hit about 24,000 customers, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison said.

In Glendora and Azusa, cities about 25 miles east of Los Angeles that sit beneath nearly 2,000 acres of steep mountain slopes stripped

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