California

After battering the north, rains move into Southern California

Major sinkhole on spillway at Lake Oroville
Water cascades down the spillway below Oroville Dam. The water is being released by authorities to avoid flooding at Lake Oroville because of recent heavy rain.
(David Butow / For The Times)

A new storm moved into Southern California on Friday, bringing with it light but sustained rain.

Showers should continue through Friday night and Saturday morning. The storm will then move out, and the weekend should be marked by partly cloud skies, according to the National Weather Service.

But another storm could move in by Thursday night.

Thanks to a wet winter, downtown Los Angeles already has recorded 15.7 inches of rain since the Oct. 1 start of the water year, exceeding its annual rainfall total with the season far from over.

In the north, which reeled this week from fierce downpours, rising water and damaging mudslides, the rain tapered off. But problems persisted even as the weather headed for at least a temporary dry period.

In Butte County, workers scrambled to rescue millions of baby salmon from a hatchery being buried in mud from the crumbling spillway of Oroville Dam. The fish were evacuated by tanker trucks.

State officials also said they might be able to avoid water releases from the dam’s emergency spillway. The integrity of the dam itself was not jeopardized, officials said.

Elsewhere, flood warnings were to remain in effect until Saturday morning for the swollen Russian River near Guerneville in the Sonoma County redwood country north of San Francisco.

A vast swath of the state’s northern interior was under flood warnings until midmorning Saturday.

“Heavy rainfall over the past several days has resulted in high river levels and stream flows throughout interior Northern California,” the National Weather Service said. “Even though rainfall will taper off after today, runoff will continue and many rivers and streams will remain high with continued fast stream flows.”

In the Central Valley, the weather service’s Hanford office issued a flood advisory through 2 p.m. Saturday for south-central Madera County and central Fresno County. Minor flooding was expected along the San Joaquin River for several days because of abnormally high water releases from Friant Dam, forecasters said.

Forty-six of 48 gates of the Sacramento River were open to accommodate increased flows and reduce the risk of urban flooding in the state capital, the Department of Water Resources said.

Foul weather also continued in the Sierra Nevada.

Winter storm warnings were to remain in effect until early Saturday in the greater Lake Tahoe area and Mono County, including the cities of Bridgeport and Mammoth Lakes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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