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Thousands in California flee homes ahead of possible mudslides

From Reuters - January 9, 2018

(Reuters) - Thousands of Southern Californians fled their homes on Monday as a powerful rain storm that could cause flash floods and trigger mudslides soaked steep slopes where a series of intense wildfires burned off vegetation last month.

Heavy downpours that could produce more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain per hour were expected through Tuesday evening, forcing officials to order or advise Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles county residents who live near where wildfires burned to evacuated their homes.

Recent burn areas will be especially vulnerable where dangerous mud and debris flows are possible, the National Weather Service said in a statement.

Several December wildfires, included a blaze known as the Thomas Fire which was the largest in the states history, burned away vegetation that holds the soil in place and baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents water from sinking deeply into the ground.

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