Hundred-foot Oak Tree Falls

Resident Linda Brand stands beside the mighty Oak that fell
on Hillhaven just after the rains.

by David DeMullé

Southern California was cleaning up Sunday after its biggest storm in years unleashed a wave of rain and snow that killed at least three people and triggered flooding, mud slides and high winds.

Vital highways and railways were shut down and sinkholes opened on main roads under the heaviest rainfall in the drought-stricken region in at least five years, according to the National Weather Service. In one of wettest spots near Santa Barbara, more than 10 inches of rain fell on Friday with several other stations in Southern California reporting at least nine inches.

“It’s been a very active winter and rainy season for the entire state of California,” said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist at the Weather Prediction Center. “But sometimes droughts end with a flood and we’ve gone from one extreme to the other.”

Parts of Southern California have been the slowest to exit the drought. The state’s reservoirs are 22 percent more full than the average, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

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