Heavy rain and snow pound California, raising mudslide risk

LOS ANGELES, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Intense rain, heavy snow and strong winds lashed California and southern Oregon on Friday, prompting the evacuation of more than a hundred homes threatened by mudslides near Los Angeles, officials said.

As much as 10 inches (25 cm) of rain could fall at a rate of 1 inch (3 cm) per hour in parts of Southern California on Friday, said the National Weather Service, raising the risk of mudslides.

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Deadly storms hit California -- February 2017
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Deadly storms hit California -- February 2017
SUN VALLEY, CA - FEBRUARY 17: A firefighter carries a woman from her car after it was caught in street flooding as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from areas denuded by a wildfire last year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A damaged apartment building after a 75 foot tall tree crashed onto it as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A large 20-foot-deep (6-meter) sinkhole that swallowed two vehicles in North Laurel Canyon Blvd, in Los Angeles, is cordoned-off on February 18, 2017, after a powerful storm hit southern California. The storm blew in from the Pacific Ocean, hitting California on February 17 with high winds, heavy rain that downed power lines, leaving 60,000 people in the Los Angeles area without power, and prompting hundreds of flight delays and cancellations at airports. Four people have been reported killed due to the storm. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, CA - FEBRUARY 17: The busy I5 freeway is shut down in both direction because of flooding as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from area denuded by a wildfire last year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Workers work after large 20-foot-deep (6-meter) sinkhole swallowed two vehicles in North Laurel Canyon Blvd, in Los Angeles, is cordoned-off on February 18, 2017, after a powerful storm hit southern California. The storm blew in from the Pacific Ocean, hitting California on February 17 with high winds, heavy rain that downed power lines, leaving 60,000 people in the Los Angeles area without power, and prompting hundreds of flight delays and cancellations at airports. Four people have been reported killed due to the storm. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A large 20-foot-deep (6-meter) sinkhole that swallowed two vehicles in North Laurel Canyon Blvd, in Los Angeles, is cordoned-off on February 18, 2017, after a powerful storm hit southern California. The storm blew in from the Pacific Ocean, hitting California on February 17 with high winds, heavy rain that downed power lines, leaving 60,000 people in the Los Angeles area without power, and prompting hundreds of flight delays and cancellations at airports. Four people have been reported killed due to the storm. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
K-rails and sandbags are placed infront of homes as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Duarte, California, on February 17, 2017 . / AFP / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
A pedestrian crosses a street as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017 . / AFP / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
K-rails and sandbags are placed infront of homes as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Duarte, California, on February 17, 2017 . / AFP / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
An officer in a police vehicle mans a roadblock, after a mandatory evacuation order was put in place for residents as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Duarte, California, on February 17, 2017 . / AFP / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, CA - FEBRUARY 17: A firefighter carries caution tape in a flooded street as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from area denuded by a wildfire last year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A resident evacuates from her apartment building after a 75 foot tall tree crashed onto it as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Firefighters prepare to transport a patient by ambulance at the scene of a car stuck in flooding as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from area denuded by a wildfire last year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A badly damaged apartment building after a 75 foot tall tree crashed onto it as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A man boards a bus on a flooded street as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 near Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from areas denuded by a wildfire last year.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

A damaged apartment building after a 75 foot tall tree crashed onto it as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017.

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

K-rails and sandbags are placed in front of homes as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Duarte, California, on February 17, 2017 .

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

People watch the large waves at El Porto beach as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017.

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

A pedestrian crosses a street as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017 .

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

A driver moves along a flooded street as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from areas denuded by a wildfire last year.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

An officer in a police vehicle mans a roadblock, after a mandatory evacuation order was put in place for residents as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Duarte, California, on February 17, 2017 .

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman walks past a roadblock as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Duarte, California, on February 17, 2017 .

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Motorists drive by waters as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from areas denuded by a wildfire last year.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

A pedestrian crosses a street as the strongest storm in six years slammed Southern California, in Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017 .

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

A badly damaged apartment building after a 75 foot tall tree crashed onto it as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017.

(MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

SUN VALLEY, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Motorists ford a flooded street as a powerful storm moves across Southern California on February 17, 2017 in Sun Valley, California. After years of severe drought, heavy winter rains have come to the state, and with them, the issuance of flash flood watches in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and the evacuation of hundreds of residents from Duarte, California for fear of flash flooding from area denuded by a wildfire last year. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A badly damaged apartment building after a 75 foot tall tree crashed onto it as the strongest storm in six years slams Los Angeles, California, on February 17, 2017. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

People with umbrellas walk across a street in Los Angeles, California, U.S. February 17, 2017.

(REUTERS/Ringo Chiu)

A woman holds her umbrella in the wind and rain in Los Angeles, February 17, 2017.

(REUTERS/Ringo Chiu)

People walk around a tree branch felled by wind and rain outside a restaurant in Los Angeles, February 17, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

A woman walks through heavy rain in Los Angeles, February 17, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Cars drive through heavy rain in Los Angeles, February 17, 2017.

(REUTERS/Ringo Chiu)

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The severe storm could bring California's heaviest rainfall in six years, after months of wet weather that has dramatically eased California's years-long drought. The heavy rain and melting snowpack threatened to undermine a spillway at one of the largest dams in the country, which prompted the evacuation of 188,000 residents earlier this week.

The city of Duarte, about 20 miles (32 km) east of Los Angeles, said it ordered residents of 180 homes to evacuate given the potential for mudslides.

A forest fire charred an area above their homes last year, prompting concerns that heavy rain could trigger mudslides where there is no vegetation.

Alberto Moreno, 34, piled sandbags outside his home on Friday after refusing to leave the area.

"The neighbors are here so we're all basically going to help out each other if it comes down to it," Moreno said.

Heather Malone, 44, another Duarte resident, said she was prepared to escape by car if she saw "half the mountain coming down" near her home.

The downpours in other heavily populated areas of Southern California, including parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties also recently hit by wildfires, could create the risk of mud and debris flows there too, the weather service said.

Authorities have warned residents of an area west of Santa Barbara, where another wildfire ravaged vegetation last year, to prepare to leave their homes quickly if ordered to evacuate.

Rain also battered parts of Northern California and southern Oregon and the weather service had flood warnings in effect in both regions on Friday afternoon.

In higher areas of eastern California and western Nevada, as much as 2 feet (60 cm) of snow could cause whiteouts, forecasters said.

Southwest Airlines Co said it had canceled more than 250 flights in California, as the storm caused disruptions.

Airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other parts of California had dozens of canceled or delayed flights, according to tracking website FlightAware.com.

(Additional reporting Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Mary Milliken)

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