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By Doha Madani
A winter storm is expected to slam much of U.S. as it moves from California to the Southeast.
Heavy rain in Southern California on Thursday flooded streets and triggered mandatory evacuation orders in wildfire-ravaged areas over fears of flooding and mudslides.
The 1.9 inches of rainfall was nearly double that of the previous record rainfall amount on the same day in 1997, according to the National Weather Service.
Burned hillsides deluged by the rains became mudslides. The biggest in the area covered the Pacific Coast Highway near Leo Carrillo State Beach, shutting down narrow, winding thruway for hours.
In Burbank, a plane slid off the runway in the heavy rains, but no one was injured.
The storm is forecast to move east, bringing heavy rain, sleet and snow from the Southwest to the Midwest, where 32 million people were under flood or winter weather alerts Friday.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency Thursday in light of the prediction that up to 6 inches of snow may get dumped on her state.
“Because the weather event may include dangerous road conditions and power outages, this state of emergency is being issued in advance of the storm to allow emergency management and other partners to preposition resources,” Fallin’s emergency declaration read.
The National Weather Service anticipates freezing rain on Friday that will transition into snow and sleet over Arkansas and Oklahoma on Saturday. Heavy snow may hit parts of New Mexico and the panhandle areas of Oklahoma and Texas.
In Texas, damaging winds and the possibility of tornados can’t be ruled out, but the real threat will come from flash flooding.
Western Louisiana, parts of which could get up to 10 inches of rain, is also at risk for flash floods.
The same storm is expected to cause heavy rains along the Southeast and mid-Atlantic until Monday, according to the NWS.