Drivers trapped as mudslides and flash floods hit southern California

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Drivers trapped as mudslides and flash floods hit southern California

Heavy rain in southern California caused mudslides and flash flooding, trapping dozens of people.

Mudslides fell onto a road around Lake Hughes, a rural area in northern Los Angeles County. A total of 24 vehicles got stuck as a result, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The storm, which dropped about three-quarters of an inch (two centimetres) of rain on Sunday night, is made up of remnants of Hurricane Kay, which formed off the Pacific coast of Mexico and headed north.

No major injuries or missing people have been reported.

The LA County Fire Department responded to the scene to rescue people. They report using “night vision technology” in helicopters to rescue eight adults and six children.

In total, 53 people have been accounted for, according to NWS. On Monday, crews were working to clear the roads, some of which remained closed and covered in mud.

The area was under a flash flood warning as the storms pushed through, but the risk isn’t over yet.

More thunderstorms and intense rainfall are possible again on Tuesday, the NWS office in Los Angeles warns, with additional flood and mudslide risk, especially below areas that have recently burned in wildfires.

Wildfires, by removing vegetation and hardening the soil, can create dangerous flash flood, mudslide and erosion conditions as heavy rain hits a burn scar.

Most of northern Los Angeles County, as well as parts of Ventura and San Bernardino counties, are under a Flood Watch until 10 PM local time on Monday. More than one inch of rain per hour is possible in some areas.

Storms derived from Hurricane Kay also closed roads in Death Valley as rainfall caused floods, the National Parks Service reports. One tour bus got stuck in the sand.

The storm strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane last week before hitting Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and dissipating into post-tropical storms, bringing heavy rain to parts of California and Arizona.