Storm damage, mudslides and road closures

FRESNO, Calif.

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People in the West Fresno County town of Huron are dealing with washed out roads.

The west side of the Central Valley took a beating from this weekend's storms. Highway 198 west of Coalinga was shut down because of mudslides. Caltrans says several inches of mud covered the highway. They were able to get things cleared up by Monday afternoon.

Near Huron, residents yet again hit a roadblock as they tried to get onto route 269. The main roadway which connects Highway 198 to the city of Huron is completely flooded. People who live in Huron say the rain consistently causes problems on 269.

Huron residents are still holding out hope that one day a bridge will be built along 269 to prevent future flooding. Caltrans says there's been discussion about installing a raised freeway, but it's extremely costly.

Laverne Jimenez said, "One time they were fixing the road and it looked like they were going to make a bridge but they just made a dip so all our taxpayer money is going under water every time it rains here."

Caltrans workers tell me they have to wait until some of the water recedes before they can dig up the road and repair it. But 269 could be closed for at least another week.

Laverne Jimenez says the shutdown of 269 for the next week means traveling an extra half-hour to bring her 70-year-old mother to and from her doctor's office. "I have to take my mom four times to the Dr and I have to go to Hanford and I have to go all the way around."

Aside from several feet of water, debris is scattered all over 269. Thick mud also covers numerous parts of the roadway.

Caltrans says it's no easy task to get the road back open to where it's safe for drivers again.

Caltrans reports this is the third time rain and flooding has shut down 269 since November.

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This latest storm forced the closure of Yosemite National Park.

Close to 500 visitors were escorted out. Park officials say the storm knocked down trees, caused mudslides and shut off power to the entire park. One Australian visitor spent less than 24 hours inside before being asked to leave.

The last time Yosemite closed was in 1997 because of a major flood. Park officials hope to have the park back open by Tuesday but say it is too soon to tell.

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Even though the Merced River is still high in the north county town of Stevinson a flood warning has been cancelled.

The biggest concerns were in the area of Hagaman Park. The park was closed early Monday after some park benches were nearly under water.

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Fresno Street has re-opened in downtown, after being shutdown because of flooding. The underpass between "G" and "H" Street flooded Sunday night, after a power outage turned off water pumps.

Crews brought in a generator to get the pump back online. The underpass reopened around 3:00 this afternoon.

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People across the state are seeing damage from the storm. In the Encino area of Los Angeles, a landslide forced officials to evacuate a home.

The dirt came down the hill and was piling up against the house. Crews are watching the hill for more movement.

Several homes were evacuated in the Woodland Hills area as debris and mud came over a retaining wall Sunday night. People were forced to stay out of their homes overnight.

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