Posted: Dec 20, 2010 11:33 AM by CNN Wire Staff
Updated: Dec 20, 2010 1:15 PM
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Heavy rains prompted the emergency evacuation Monday of nearly 2,000 residents of a flooding Southern California town and the temporary closure of at least two highways because of mudslides.
Meanwhile, as much as 10 feet of additional snow is on tap for the Sierra Nevada, doubling the amount that's fallen in an epic storm on the cusp of the winter solstice.
Residents near McFarland were being evacuated Monday because of what Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins called "major flooding."
The area has been inundated with rain for four days, with totals ranging as high as 10 inches. The National Weather Service said additional rain is expected in the area through Tuesday.
Mudslides forced officials to close a portion of State Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, in Ventura County from just north of the Los Angeles County line to Oxnard, according to the California Department of Transportation. SR 1 was also closed north of Santa Barbara due to flooding.
A mudslide closed a portion of State Route 41 in San Luis Obispo County. A stretch of State Route 34 in the Oxnard area was closed because of flooding.
It was unclear when the roads would reopen.
The danger of mudslides will probably intensify, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said.
"A serious situation will develop now with the mudslide danger that will continue over the next several days," Cabrera said Monday.
The rain was expected to diminish Monday but intensify once again Tuesday night and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Yet another storm is forecast for Christmas night.
The precipitation is part of a massive, moisture-laden West Coast system that will continue to bring more rain and snow to the area through much of the week.
A winter storm warning remained in effect through Monday afternoon for California's Sierra Nevada, from Yosemite to Kings Canyon, according to the National Weather Service.
"Storm totals of 5 to 10 feet above 7,000 feet are likely," the weather service said, and periods of heavy snow will continue through Monday. High winds are also forecast for the region, which received several feet of snow over the weekend.
Forecasters said travel into the high country of the southern Sierra Nevada could be difficult, if not impossible.
Mammoth Lakes, California, got almost 9 feet of snow in less than 24 hours, according to Cabrera.
On Sunday, high winds hit Seattle, downing trees and power lines, and knocking out power to about 100,000 people. Most of that had been restored as of Sunday.
In Spokane, Washington, video showed many drivers crashing as they tried to get up or down a snowy hill.
-- CNN's Nick Valencia contributed to this report.
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