Flash floods inundate homes and overturn cars in San Diego as heavy rains sweep through much of US

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A woman walks by cars damaged by floods during a rainstorm in San Diego on Jan 22. (AP)

SAN DIEGO, Jan 23, (AP): Flash floods inundated homes and overturned cars in San Diego on Monday as torrential rain swept through a large swath of the US, toppling trees and overflowing streets across California.
Early morning flooding hit the town of Guerneville, north of San Francisco, where a creek overflowed after more than 4 inches (10 cm) of rain fell in 24 hours. The local school district canceled classes for the day.
Later, the weather system unleashed a severe punch on the south end of the state in the second major rain event of the winter.
Floodwaters swept away vehicles and caused cars to pile on top of each other in parts of San Diego. Several feet of water inundated the Mountain View, Shelltown and Southcrest neighborhoods, and multiple highways including Interstate 15.
Eddie Ochoa, a resident of San Diego, said it was just sprinkling when he and his sister went out for breakfast Monday morning. When they returned to their family-owned auto body shop, the entire block was flooded and his sister’s parked car had been washed away.
“All that happened within an hour,” Ochoa said, guessing that the sewers had backed up. They later found his sister’s car about three miles (4.8 kilometers) down the street.
“It’s never been that bad, ever. It’s crazy,” he said.
Over a three-hour period, a whopping 3 inches (7.6 cm) of rain fell at nearby National City, while 2 inches (5 cm) fell at San Diego International Airport, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. During the winter, the region typically averages around 2 inches of rain per month.
Deputies pulled people to safety after water rushed into homes in the Spring Valley and Casa de Oro neighborhoods, said San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Zee Sanchez. Other residents escaped by wading through waist-high water carrying their cats and dogs.
“Flooding is pretty widespread out there,” Sanchez said. The department aided in a swift-water rescue near Santee, he said. No injuries were reported.
The San Diego River was flooding, the National Weather Service said, warning that crossing roads would be unsafe. The city fire department said it had rescued at least 24 people from the rushing San Diego and Tijuana rivers.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria declared a state of emergency and the city set up shelters to house displaced residents.

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