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22 July 2024

California avalanches kill one, leave another missing

By Agencies
Mountain avalanches killed an off-duty ski patrol worker and left another person missing as California strained under nearly a week of snow and rain.

One avalanche struck on Friday afternoon at Wrightwood in the snow-laden San Gabriel Mountains. A 23-year-old employee of the Mountain High ski area was pulled from the debris, but died at a hospital later that afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said. His name was not released.

As night fell, searchers were still looking for another person who was missing after a second avalanche about a half-mile (kilometer) from the first, on national forest land.

An avalanche advisory was issued for the ski area at nearby Mount Baldy, a 10,000-foot (3,048-meter) peak about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, and the lifts there were closed, Angeles National Forest spokesman Stanton Florea said.

Elsewhere, utility crews repaired electrical outages while highway crews worked to keep mountain routes open.

Nearly 11,000 homes and businesses throughout Southern California were without electricity, including about 6,700 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers.

A 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 5 over Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles reopened after being closed for two days and stranding hundreds of drivers. Highway Patrol officers escorted cars over the summit.

A new storm system was expected to arrive on Saturday night and dump several more inches of rain through Sunday. (AP)