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Major Rainstorm Causes Mudflows, Havoc In Parched California

The first major rainstorm to hit drought-stricken California since February on Tuesday caused mudflows, felled power lines and large trees, and forced evacuations, especially in the southern part of the state.

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In one neighborhood north of L.A., rivers popped up where they really shouldn't be.

Mud flow swamps Camarillo Springs neighborhood; watch LIVE storm coverage on ABC7

ABC7 Eyewitness News@ABC7Follow

Mud flow swamps Camarillo Springs neighborhood; watch LIVE storm coverage on ABC7

10:57 AM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

Debris and mud partially submerged one home Tuesday in Camarilo. The area was left vulnerable by nearby hillsides stripped bare of vegetation by the 2013 Springs fire.

The flow of mud and debris prompted mandatory evacuations for dozens of homeowners.

#Mud and debris on San Como Ln, #CamarilloSprings #BREAKING. Noon Update

Gordon Tokumatsu@GordonNBCLAFollow

#Mud and debris on San Como Ln, #CamarilloSprings #BREAKING. Noon Update

11:49 AM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Gusty winds also downed trees and power lines, closing streets across region.

IMAGE: Tree topples on Sherman Oaks street. More viewer storm photos >>> http://t.co/alZB0XxWlE

NBC Los Angeles@NBCLAFollow

IMAGE: Tree topples on Sherman Oaks street. More viewer storm photos >>> http://t.co/alZB0XxWlE

12:37 PM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Also in the San Francisco-Bay Area region.

Here's another fallen tree at 700 block of Waller. #rain #storm

Lyanne Melendez@LyanneMelendezFollow

Here's another fallen tree at 700 block of Waller. #rain #storm

2:39 PM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Flooding also forced the closure of Pacific Coast Highway, a major artery connecting Malibu and Santa Monica.

Water and mud cover PCH just north of Deer Creek Rd. PCH remains closed between Las Posas & Yerba Buena. Alt: US 101.

Caltrans District 7@CaltransDist7Follow

Water and mud cover PCH just north of Deer Creek Rd. PCH remains closed between Las Posas & Yerba Buena. Alt: US 101.

3:16 PM - 01 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The above image was tweeted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Air Operations Section, showing a car being swept away during a flash flood from earlier this year in Nevada.

The storm also disrupted commuters across California.

UPDATE: Heavy rain ruins Bay Area morning commute, shuts down cable cars : http://t.co/xiuB5hEtJE

SF Chronicle@sfchronicleFollow

UPDATE: Heavy rain ruins Bay Area morning commute, shuts down cable cars : http://t.co/xiuB5hEtJE

11:26 AM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The L.A. area certainly saw its usual share of freeway chaos.

#TRAFFICALERT Truck hangs over NB 55 to 91; 2 lanes closed on EB 91 -photo via #ABC7Eyewitness @Tanlyy96

ABC7 Eyewitness News@ABC7Follow

#TRAFFICALERT Truck hangs over NB 55 to 91; 2 lanes closed on EB 91 -photo via #ABC7Eyewitness @Tanlyy96

3:30 PM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And apparently caught TV reporters in typically sunny Southern California unprepared.

#NewsFlash It's raining in #SanDiego. Send us your weather pictures: http://t.co/vkGKLfTeEd

Fox 5 San Diego@fox5sandiegoFollow

#NewsFlash It's raining in #SanDiego. Send us your weather pictures: http://t.co/vkGKLfTeEd

10:26 AM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Here's a satellite image of the storm.

Satellite image of the current storm impacting Southern California. #LARain #CAwx #SoCal #LAweather

NWS Los Angeles@NWSLosAngelesFollow

Satellite image of the current storm impacting Southern California. #LARain #CAwx #SoCal #LAweather

11:30 AM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The heavy rainfall sent runoff gushing out from storm drains, swelling normally anemic urban riverways.

When I drove in at 5AM, the LA River wasn't even much of a river...take a look at it now.

David Biggar@DavidNBCLAFollow

When I drove in at 5AM, the LA River wasn't even much of a river...take a look at it now.

2:23 PM - 02 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

It was largest rain event to hit California since February.

But as massive as the storm was, the rainfall totals weren't expected to make any lasting dent in the state's water deficit. Reservoir levels remain extremely low and, overall, 2014 has been close to a total fail in terms of bringing the sort of consistent precipitation needed to bring recharge them.

The latest drought map shows just how dry California has become.

http://U.S. Drought Monitor / Via droughtmonitor.unl.edu

The entire state is suffering under some level of drought, although more than 50% of the state is considered to be under the most extreme category of dryness, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Jason Wells is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jason Wells at jason.wells@buzzfeed.com.

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