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Storm brings California needed rain, unleashes mudslide in Orange County

LOS ANGELES — A Pacific storm brought much-needed rain and snow to California on Wednesday at the tail-end of a largely dry winter, but it also unleashed a mudslide in a fire-scarred canyon.

Mud coursed down Orange County's rustic Silverado Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, filling the yards of homes and trapping some cars in hubcap-deep muck.

No injuries were reported, but with more rain expected the Orange County Sheriff's Department ordered Silverado and two other canyons evacuated.

Winter storm warnings were in effect in the southern Cascades, down the length of the Sierra Nevada and the mountains of Southern California. Caltrans urged drivers to check for chain controls.

Conditions included showers, downpours, thunderstorms, hail and low-elevation snow.

For a time, the California Highway Patrol had to escort Interstate 5 traffic over Tejon Pass in the mountains north of Los Angeles.

To the east, heavy snow was reported on Interstate 15 in the high desert, Caltrans said.

In the Eastern Sierra, the Mammoth Mountain ski resort reported 13 inches to 15 inches (33-38.1 centimeters) of new snow, with more expected.

The Sierra snowpack is an important part of California‘s water supply, but at the start of March its water content was about half the average normally recorded on April 1, when it is typically at its most robust.

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