LOS ANGELES (AP) — California got some badly needed precipitation Thursday from a fast-moving storm that forecasters said would be followed by heavier rains and snow and the possibility of flooding and mud flows into communities near areas scarred by wildfires.
Despite sunny blue skies behind the first storm, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for about 1,000 homes in two of Los Angeles' eastern foothill suburbs beneath nearly 2,000 acres of steep mountain slopes left bare by a January fire.
For days, the cities of Glendora and Azusa have made extensive preparations. Residents built barriers of wood and sandbags to keep debris flows in streets and out of homes.
While concern was highest in the Glendora-Azusa area, meteorologists also posted flood watches for many other areas denuded by fires over the past two years. The National Weather Service warned of possible rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour as well as waterspouts offshore and small tornados when the next storm moves through the state Friday.
California's precipitation totals are far below normal and it will take a series of drenching storms to make a dent in a statewide drought that is among the worst in recent history.
The state Department of Water Resources took a new survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack and found the water content at only 24 percent of average for the date. The northern and central Sierra snowpack normally provides about a third of the water used by California's cities and farms.
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