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Remnant of Strong Storm Expected to Hit L.A.

Weather: Rain causes flooding and rivers to crest and washes out bridges in Northern California and Nevada.

February 05, 1996|JOHN L. MITCHELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Pacific storm that brought minor flooding, washed out bridges and caused rivers to crest in Northern California and parts of Nevada is expected to dwindle to scattered showers when it hits the Los Angeles Basin today.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to arrive shortly after midnight Sunday, bringing warm rains, dropping up to half an inch along the coast and as much as an inch in the mountains before ending in the afternoon.

Because it originated in the warm climate off Hawaii, the storm is not packing any of the fluffy, white flakes that make ski-slope operators happy.

"It's bringing warm rains that may even melt the snow at some of the ski resorts below the 7,000-foot level," said Curtis Brack, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., a Wichita, Kan., firm that provides weather information.

With the rain, he said, winds may gust up to 30 mph as the weakening storm moves south by afternoon, leaving clearer skies behind.

Los Angeles got off easy compared to Northern and Central California and parts of Nevada, which were hit with heavy rain since early Saturday morning.

The steady downpour caused officials to call off the 1996 Pebble Beach National Pro Am after just half the usual 72 holes, the first time that bad weather has forced cancellation of a PGA Tour event since 1949.

"A couple of holes were inundated with water, they were unplayable," said Jim Crumpacker, a tournament spokesman. "The pros were paid $5,000 each, and there will be no winner this year."

The city of Kentfield, in the Bay Area, reported 5.1 inches of rain over the 24 hours ending at 4 p.m. Sunday while just over four inches fell on Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, two girls were rescued Sunday from a creek swollen to twice its normal flow by four inches of overnight rain.

Margyln Paseka, 15, and Jennifer Anglin, 14, capsized while trying to paddle down Mantanzas Creek in a garbage can.

Fire Department crews were able to pull Jennifer from the fast-moving water within minutes using ropes. Margyln, trapped in underwater debris and clinging to a tree branch, was freed 25 minutes later by a white-water rescue expert.

Both girls were treated and released from a local hospital.

Road closures and minor flooding caused some problems throughout Sonoma and Napa counties. In Guerneville, residents braced as the Russian River was expected to rise 32 feet to crest at flood stage.

"That would be flood stage, but we haven't ordered any evacuations yet," said a spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department.

Bob Sorsen, manager of the Napa County Flood Control District, said residents were looking at a coming storm that could cause the Napa River to crest above flood level.

"At this point we are between storms and things are under control," he said Sunday evening. "But there is another storm out there that we are keeping our eyes on."

Elsewhere, the storm caused boulders to crash across U.S. 80 near the Nevada state line. Heavy rainfall combined with snow melting caused streams to overflow and bridges to be washed out in the mountains near Reno.

"It's a disorganized storm that is heavy with moisture," Brack said.

The storm, he added, will taper off today and the skies should clear and the temperatures warm up for the rest of the week.

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