* At least two homes destroyed, others damaged
* Residents told to evacuate ahead of more rain
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES, Feb 6 Mudslides destroyed at least
two homes and badly damaged a number of others on Saturday in
foothills surrounding Los Angeles as a fierce winter storm
pounded Southern California.
Authorities said a wall of mud and debris at least several
feet high rumbled down a hillside in the community of La
Canada-Flintridge, crashing into homes and cars and leaving a
path of destruction in its wake.
There were no reports of deaths or injuries but residents
were being told to leave as another heavy downpour was expected
by early Saturday afternoon.
"There are mounds and mounds of dirt piled into homes and
cars have been covered up and gone into homes," Los Angeles
County Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told Reuters by
telephone from the scene.
"(The cars) look like toys scattered across the road," she
Authorities had no immediate count of the damaged homes but
Nishida said that in the neighborhood where she was working she
could count at least two homes that would have to be
"A car has gone into another residence and I'm smelling a
lot of gas so I think there's a gas leak that the fire
department is trying to fix," she said.
The mud came down on hillsides that were left barren by a
massive wildfire last summer and officials had been warning
that they were unstable.
Elsewhere in the Los Angeles area, flooding forced the
closure of streets and at least one major freeway and
overflowed curbs to wash into several businesses in Hollywood.
The National Weather Service has said that a weeklong
series of storms that battered California in January were the
strongest to hit the region in five years.
A silver lining has been heavy snowfall in mountain ranges
that feed the California's reservoirs, easing critical water
shortages. But state water officials have been reluctant to
declare the drought at an end.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)