Some evacuation orders lifted in San Bernardino County towns hit by debris flows
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — The death toll from the massive mud slides that have ravaged parts of Southern California in recent days has risen to more than 50.
With the number of injured rising to more than 250, the evacuation order has been lifted for several homes and businesses in an area encompassing San Bernardino, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana.
About 50 miles south of Los Angeles, the San Bernadino Unified School District said the evacuation order was lifted for the middle school in San Tan Valley, about 3 miles north of the city of San Bernardino and about 8 miles south of Redlands.
The mud flow has been triggered by a combination of rain and snow melt-waters from a fast-moving storm system that’s been rolling in from the west.
The mud flows were reported Wednesday morning in the southern portion of San Bernardino County, and by late afternoon the region had been hit by the worst of the flows near San Bernardino City College and at Highway 138.
More rain is expected through the weekend, with the National Weather Service predicting more severe weather.
San Bernardino County leaders said Wednesday the evacuees may return to their homes on Friday or Saturday.
The latest disaster to hit California’s urban centers also prompted the evacuation of the University of California at Riverside campus. The school, which was not damaged, said it had no report of injuries and was ready to open Friday as scheduled.
Earlier Wednesday, more than 200 customers were asked to leave a restaurant in Laguna Beach after several trees fell on the building.
The owner of the business, Andrew Grosso, said it was “almost like an act of God.” He said the city received a report Saturday morning that several trees had been felled in the area, but none were actually downed.
“There was never any danger of falling trees,” Grosso said, adding that he was trying to figure out how the situation was initiated.
Another resident in the area, Robert Zorlan, said he was worried about the two or three people who had made complaints because the building was under construction and the neighbors had been asked to leave. He said he wanted to see what could be done to make the area safe.