Southern California Storms Cause Flooding, Fires

Tuesday, 13 Sep 2011 11:36 PM

 

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LOS ANGELES — A day of heavy storm activity in parts of Southern California meant public safety officials had to deal with fires from lightning strikes and flash flood warnings in swaths of the region.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings to residents in parts of Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties Tuesday because heavy rainfall exceeded 2 inches per hour in some areas.

The heavy rain makes streams and areas of runoff dangerous, and the warnings remained in effect well into the evening.

In the Los Padres National Forest, three firefighters were injured by a lightning strike.

"They were knocked off their feet" after lightning struck about 50 feet away, Andrew Madsen, spokesman for the Los Padres National Forest, told the Los Angeles Times.

It happened in the Mount Pinos area near Frazier Park. Afterward, the men were awake and appeared to be fine, but they were airlifted from the forest and hospitalized as a precaution.

In Joshua Tree National Park, torrential rains caused widespread flash flooding in the park's Pinto Basin and Cottonwood Spring areas, park spokesman Joe Zarki said.

Several roads in Joshua Tree were badly damaged with loss of pavement in numerous areas, but no people were injured, said Zarki.

In Southern California's desert areas near Palm Springs, lightning strikes set palm trees ablaze as thunderstorms quickly rolled across the region.

Heavy rains helped firefighters douse those fires before they could spread.

Palm Springs fire Battalion Chief Jon Merriam says firefighters were called out before dawn Tuesday to 11 lightning-related incidents in about 2 1/2 hours.

In Lake Arrowhead, one family weathered a storm of their own after their 8-year-old autistic boy went missing for more than 24 hours — including a period of chilly weather, heavy rain and lightning.

The boy was found — in shorts and without a shirt — safe and uninjured.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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