California soaked but little drought help, damage

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Manufacturing Assembly worker Terry Young, 24, of Rialto, Calif., uses a sheet of plastic to protect himself from a downpour Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, as he jumps a flooded parking lot from a wood pallet to get to a food truck during his break in Anaheim, Calif. 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/The Orange County Register, Ken Steinhardt) MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT ////ADDITIONAL INFO: – 07.weather.0228.ks – Day: Friday – Date: 2/28/14 – Time: 9:20:31 AM – Original file name _KSA9415.NEF – KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER –

Manufacturing Assembly worker Terry Young, 24, of Rialto, Calif., uses a sheet of plastic to protect himself from a downpour Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, as he jumps a flooded parking lot from a wood pallet to get to a food truck during his break in Anaheim, Calif. 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/The Orange County Register, Ken Steinhardt) MAGS OUT; LOS ANGELES TIMES OUT ////ADDITIONAL INFO: – 07.weather.0228.ks – Day: Friday – Date: 2/28/14 – Time: 9:20:31 AM – Original file name _KSA9415.NEF – KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER –

Workers try to help a woman to get her car unstuck from the mud brought by the rain along a hillside in Glendora, Calif., 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)

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 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)

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AZUSA, Calif. (AP) — A storm that brought some of the highest rainfall totals to the Los Angeles area in years, including eight inches on some mountains, was just the beginning of what the region needs to pull out of a major drought.

Although the storm was expected to remain strong Saturday, forecasters said such systems would have to become common for the state to make serious inroads against the drought.

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

But the storm had yet to do serious damage either. At least not yet.

In Azusa and neighboring foothill communities about 25 miles east of Los Angeles that sit beneath nearly 2,000 acres of steep mountain slopes that just weeks ago were menaced by a wildfire, about 1,200 homes were under evacuation orders over mudflow fears but were so-far spared.

In particular danger were about a dozen homes in Azusa that were backed up against a steep fire-denuded hillside several hundred feet high that authorities feared could collapse.

Muddy water swept down the hillside earlier in the day, spreading about two feet of ooze above one backyard, although fencing walls and an orchard of about 5,000 avocado trees behind the development stopped most serious debris.

Despite the urging of police and fire officials who cleared reporters and others out of the neighborhood as the hill grew more saturated, at least a few residents decided to stay on.

Dennis Sanderson, 50, said his reaction to the evacuation order was “we’ll ride it out,” but by nightfall he was undecided and keeping an eye on the weather because of forecasts for more rainfall.

Only a half-inch of rain was expected late Friday night “but that doesn’t mean that mountain won’t come down, so we’ll probably go ahead and leave,” Sanderson said.

Ed Heinlein, 65, evacuated early Friday with five other family members including his 5-week-old grandson to stay with friends, but kept returning to eye the house and the mountain, where mud filled furrows more than three feet deep and brimmed over retaining walls three feet tall.

“It’s your home and your life, so it’s hard to stay away” Heinlein said. However, “We’re not to go back until the threat clears.”

About 13 homes were evacuated Friday night in Palmdale in northern Los Angeles County, where a mudslide closed a major road.

Thunder echoed and hard rain fell late Friday night on Hollywood, which was abuzz

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