Winter storm raises fears of rain, snow and flooding in California

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A major winter storm battered California on Tuesday, bringing rain and snow to the drought-stricken state as well as possible flash flooding in areas recently scarred by wildfires, said meteorologists.

The storm is expected to last through mid-week. It arrived Monday, raising hopes the rainfall could blunt an already subdued California wildfire season.

But in some areas, the rain has brought its own problems. The town of Duarte in the southern California foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains issued mandatory evacuation orders late Monday night for about 25 homes in the area of ​​the Fish Fire burn scars. Further evacuation orders are in place through Wednesday morning for canyon areas in the Bond Fire scorch scar of the Santa Ana Mountains.

In northern California, meteorologists issued a flash flood watch until 5 p.m. Tuesday, warning that heavy rains could lead to debris flows and flash flooding in scorch scars from Colorado wildfires and from the river.

National Weather Service meteorologists expect between 1 and 3 inches (2.54 and 7.62 centimeters) of precipitation through Wednesday in the Los Angeles-area coast and valleys. Foothills and mountains could see up to 5 inches (12.70 centimeters). Thunderstorms are expected to last Tuesday afternoon into the evening.

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Meteorologists say mountain tops above 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) in elevation could receive 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of snowfall, with 20 inches (50 centimeters) possible locally .

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