Atmospheric river storm drenches California, snow piles high

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In this photo provided by Caltrans District 9, a tractor trailer that is stuck in heavy snowfall at Crestview along U.S. Hwy 395, closed in Mono County, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. An atmospheric river storm pumped drenching rains into the heart of California on Thursday as blizzard conditions buried the Sierra Nevada in snow. (Andy Richard/Caltrans District 9 via AP)

LOS ANGELES – Evacuations were ordered Thursday in wildfire burn areas prone to mudslides as an atmospheric river storm pumped drenching rain into Southern California while blizzard conditions buried the Sierra Nevada in snow.

After barreling ashore Tuesday in Northern California, the storm took aim like a massive firehose at the central coast, where the two-day rainfall total neared 14 inches (35.5 centimeters) in San Luis Obispo County, the National Weather Service said.

The system then dropped into Southern California, bringing threats of flash floods and debris flows to areas scorched by recent blazes.

About 8,200 people were under orders to evacuate foothill neighborhoods beneath the burn scar of last summer’s El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa. Deputies went door to door urging people to leave in the Oak Glen area.

“We’ve given an evacuation order. You need to heed it,” San Bernardino County Fire Division Chief Grant Malinowski said during a news conference. “Don’t wait, do it now.”

Evacuation orders were also in place for hillside communities in neighboring Riverside County. Meanwhile, the California Office of Emergency Services positioned specialized response strike teams and task forces in 11 counties.

In the Eastern Sierra, Mammoth Mountain ski resort reported 7.25 feet (2.21 meters) of new snow on its summit. A blizzard warning remained in effect for the range on both sides of the California-Nevada border.

The California Highway Patrol closed a 75-mile (120-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 80 following multiple spinouts along the key route east of Sacramento to the Nevada border west of Reno. No injuries were reported. U.S. Highway 395 remained closed from near Bishop north to the California-Nevada border.