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Evacuation orders lifted after California storm

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Big surf pounds the pier at Manhattan Beach, Calif., on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in the aftermath of a powerful Pacific storm. Showers from residual moisture fell in the region, but forecasters said a developing ridge of high pressure would bring a period of dry weather. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

Big surf pounds the pier at Manhattan Beach, Calif., on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in the aftermath of a powerful Pacific storm. Showers from residual moisture fell in the region, but forecasters said a developing ridge of high pressure would bring a period of dry weather. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

In this photo provided by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Malibu Search and Rescue Team members assist four stranded hikers who were trapped overnight March 1, 2014 in a remote area of Malibu Creek State Park, Calif. Although the initial rescue area was inaccessible, the helicopter was finally able to connect with rescuers shortly after 3 a.m. and airlift the hikers to safety.(AP Photo/Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department)

In this photo provided by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Malibu Search and Rescue Team members assist four stranded hikers who were trapped overnight March 1, 2014 in a remote area of Malibu Creek State Park, Calif. Although the initial rescue area was inaccessible, the helicopter was finally able to connect with rescuers shortly after 3 a.m. and airlift the hikers to safety.(AP Photo/Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department)

Skiers crowd the slopes at Snow Valley, Calif. as a strong storm dumped fresh snow on the slopes Saturday, March 1, 2014. A powerful Pacific storm hit the state early Saturday, but did not put a major dent in a drought that is among the worst in recent California history. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Mark Muckenfuss) MANDATORY CREDIT: THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE, MARK MUCKENFUSS

Trash collects along the shore after after a rainstorm in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday, March 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Residents in three California foothill communities headed home Sunday after a powerful storm that threatened to unleash mud on neighborhoods beneath unstable hills scarred by recent wildfires.

With the storm reduced to sprinkles, residents in the Los Angeles County cities of Glendora and Azusa were allowed back into their homes. Monrovia residents were allowed back late Saturday, officials said.

The storm — the largest since 2010 — kept emergency planners and rescue crews busy, but it didn’t produce enough rain to pull California out of a crippling drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state’s vast farming industry.

The precipitation will bring the Los Angeles region to about half its normal rainfall for the season, Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1g36283).

“This is no drought-buster, but it’s a nice, fat down payment” in the water bank, he said.

In downtown Los Angeles, the skies cleared in time for the red carpet arrivals at the Academy Awards, but rescue teams and cleanup crews were still busy.

A swift water rescue team plucked four hikers from rising waters in a risky overnight rescue Sunday in Malibu.

The hikers, who were trapped between a high wall and the rising waters in Malibu Creek State Park, were whisked out by helicopter uninjured but cold and exhausted.

In San Diego County, search and rescue teams continued to look for a 55-year-old man whose kayak was found floating upside down in stormy weather at Lake Sutherland Dam in Ramona.

High surf breached a sand berm in Long Beach late Saturday during an usually high tide, said Will Nash, a spokesman for the Long Beach Fire Department. The water caused minor damage in the parking garages and lower levels of about 20 homes there, he said.

As of Saturday evening, the storm had dropped more than 3 inches of rain in downtown Los Angeles, nearly 4.5 inches in Van Nuys and almost 12 inches at Cogswell Dam in the Angeles National Forest, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm wasn’t all bad news, though.

Ski resorts were delighted with fresh snow that promised to extend their season, and in northern California, the rain boosted a local creek where endangered coho salmon spawn. Rainfall over the last month has helped facilitate the salmon’s return to their spawning grounds, said the local water district officials who track their numbers.

“Coho season is wrapping up, and thankfully it’s ending with more of a bang than a whimper,” Eric Ettlinger, aquatic ecologist with the Marin Municipal Water District told The Marin Independent Journal (http://bit.ly/1pQiMql).

Associated Press

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