Photo taken on July 11, 2015 shows trees broken by heavy wind in Sanmen County of east China's Zhejiang Province. The approaching Typhoon Chan-Hom has brought gales and rainstorms to Zhejiang Province, east China, forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled and highways to be closed, local authorities said Saturday. (Xinhua/Xu Yu) (zwx)
Photo taken on July 11, 2015 shows trees broken by heavy wind in Sanmen County of east China's Zhejiang Province. The approaching Typhoon Chan-Hom has brought gales and rainstorms to Zhejiang Province, east China, forcing hundreds of flights to be canceled and highways to be closed, local authorities said Saturday. (Xinhua/Xu Yu) (zwx)

Heavy rain with thunderstorms and hails hit the area north of Castaic from the Golden State (5) Freeway to Lancaster and points east.
About 2.5 inches of rain fell in the affected area, portions of which were covered with golf ball-sized hails.

Rainfall records for Thursday were set in Palmdale with 0.94 inch, and in Sandberg with 0.65 inch, breaking the respective records of 0.04 inch and 0.15 inch both set in 1935, according to the National Weather Service.

A record was also set at Fox Field in Lancaster, where 0.65 inch fell, breaking the previous record set in 2005.

The National Weather Service had earlier issued flash-flood warnings and said downpours could cause slides and flows of mud and debris over slopes where wildfires have stripped off vegetation.

Several homes were engulfed in mud in the Elizabeth Lake area and vehicles were trapped in mud flows on the nearby road.

Los Angeles County Fire Department rescue crews airlifted four people after they were trapped in a vehicle, the department’s Humberto Agurcia said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but crews continued to survey the area on the ground and from the air in search of any other possible victims.

The Golden State Freeway of California was blocked by rock and debris between Fort Tejon north of Gorman and Parker Road in the Castaic area and was expected to remain so until Friday evening, according to the California Highway Patrol. Thousands of vehicles were trapped on the northbound side of the freeway.

Patrick Chandler of the California Department of Transportation said Interstate 5 was choked by debris, mud and car-sized boulders. He urged travelers to take a different route. However, flooding on other roads has made it difficult to find alternatives.

“It’s the worst traffic jam I have ever met in California since I came here in 1980s. All of the three freeways back to Los Angeles were shut off due to the mud and stone,” Louis Lu, a tour guide with Los Angeles-based Golden International Travel told Xinhua after waiting on road over four hours.

Lu’s travel bus was held up on the northbound side of the freeway with over 40 tourists from China, Australia and Greece on board. “We urgently helped our clients book hotel rooms in the nearest city, so that they could take a shower and have some rest till the freeway opened,” Lu said.

A southerly air flow streamed into the area ahead of the storm system, bringing increased moisture and atmospheric instability, the National Weather Service said. Endtem

Source: Xinhua

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