More rain, snow expected in storm-battered California, following days of mudslides and floods

Doyle Rice

Californians were in clean-up mode Friday as the state slowly recovers from an onslaught of rain, wind and snow, which brought widespread flooding, mudslides, and washed-out highways.

At least two deaths have been blamed on the storm.

Although the worst of the storm had moved well inland early Friday, forecasters said some leftover showers and snow was still likely to fall across the state on Friday and Saturday. The higher elevations of the Sierra could see an additional 3 to 6 feet of snow over the next few days, on top of the 3 feet that fell Thursday, the National Weather Service said. 

So much snow has fallen in the area that cities are running out of places to put the snow, according to Kevin Cooper of Lake Tahoe TV

In Southern California, officials said rain-drenched hillsides could still loosen and collapse, bringing down mud, boulders and debris.

“The ground is still so saturated and the water is still flowing down from the mountains,” said April Newman, spokeswoman for Riverside County Fire Department.

California flooding: Woman rescued after mudslide destroyed her home

Over 50,000 homes and business were without power as of midday Friday, poweroutage.us reported.

In Sausalito, north of San Francisco, a home smashed into another house after sliding down a hill. One woman was buried under a tree and mud for two hours before fire crews rescued her.

The National Weather Service reported staggering rainfall amounts across California. A rain gauge at Palomar Observatory, 60 miles northwest of San Diego, picked up over 10 inches of rain Thursday, that location's wettest day ever recorded.

Heavy rain also spread into Arizona and southern Nevada, AccuWeather reported. Four people were rescued in Las Vegas after rushing water trapped them under a bridge. It was the rainiest Valentine's Day on record in Vegas, with 1.11 inches reported.

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Palm Springs, California, recorded its third rainiest day on record with over 3.7 inches falling in the city.

The deluge was courtesy of an atmospheric river, which are ribbons of water vapor that extend thousands of miles in the air from the tropics to the western USA. They are responsible for up to 65 percent of the western USA's extreme rain and snow events, a 2017 study said.

What's left of the storm will continue to move across the country Friday and Saturday, spreading mostly light-to-moderate amounts of snow across the nation. Later Friday and into Saturday, a corridor of snow can be expected from eastern Missouri to the mid-Atlantic region.

Snow totals along the path of the storm will be less than 6 inches in most locations.

By next week, the weather service said heavy rain with potential flooding will be possible over the southern U.S. And wintry precipitation, perhaps a mix of snow and ice, will impact the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast by early to mid week.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: More rain, snow expected in storm-battered California, following days of mudslides and floods