Saturated slopes worry California cities

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Saturated mountainsides are looming over foothill communities in Los Angeles County as a storm centered off California rotate bands of rain into a state that sorely needs the moisture but not at such dangerously high rates.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for hundreds of homes in the foothill communities where fires have burned away vegetation that holds soil in place, and bursts of rain cause the mountains to belch occasional debris flows.

The storm marks a sharp departure from many months of drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state's farming industry. But such storms would have to become common to make serious inroads against the drought.

Officials warn that despite lengthy lulls, more heavy downpours are expected, and they're urging residents who have left their homes to be patient.

The storm is forecast to move east over the Rockies and into the Plains and Mississippi Valley through Sunday.

A mixture of sleet and snow in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois will eventually change over to all snow while northern Arkansas will see freezing rain. The system also has its sights set on the Appalachians and the East Coast into Monday.

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