LOS ANGELES -- States of emergency have been declared in Los Angeles, Kings, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Inyo counties in response to a week of destructive rains. Damage totals are expected to exceed $60 million.
States of emergency have been declared by Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado in Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties.
Maldonado was acting on behalf of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was not in the state Thursday.
Damage estimates were nearing $30 million in Riverside County, $23 million in Orange County, with about $4 million in Laguna Beach. Damage estimates in Highland alone were approaching $17 million.
The declarations came as work crews, residents and business owners traded sandbags for shovels Thursday to clean up after a week of storms that caused severe damage to at least 40 homes across Southern California and claimed one life.
Rescue crews shepherded dozens of stranded motorists and trapped residents to safety, but they could not reach Angela Marie Wright, 39, of Menifee, authorities confirmed Thursday.
She had been found dead in her car Wednesday afternoon after being swept off the road in storm waters in the Canyon Lake area of Riverside County, authorities said. One of the hardest hit locations was foothill community of Highland in San Bernardino County.
There, evacuations remained in force for 140 homes below an unstable 100-foot bluff. At least 26 homes, most of them in another Highland neighborhood called the Village where a creek that overflowed, sustained severe damage. Floodwaters left mud as deep as 4 feet and half-buried cars tipped at crazy angles.
Crews in Highland were laying down sandbags Saturday night to protect homes in a neighborhood not far from the Village. A steep hillside there could send mud flowing down into backyards if the area gets more heavy rain.