(LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.) -- Southern California residents will get a break Thursday from the wet weather that inundated the region with a year's worth of rain in just one week.
The series of storms that has pounded the area since last week has triggered mudslides, flooding and swift water rescues, and prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency for six counties. But as the rain subsides and heads east, the clean-up begins for areas hit the hardest by the strongest part of Wednesday's storm.
In Laguna Beach, a wall of water four feet high poured through downtown, bringing with it a tide of mud. The heavy water has made driving nearly impossible near the Pacific coast, with puddles the size of lakes forcing road closures.
On Wednesday morning, a mudslide devastated the town of Highland, near the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. Most of the residents' cars are now buried in mud, and more than 20 homes were destroyed in an instant.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works lifted evacuation orders Wednesday night for La Canada Flintridge and La Cresenta. Earlier, officials Tuesday went door to door telling more than 200 homeowners in the area that it was not safe to remain there.
Forecasters say the storm is now moving east. Arizona, Utah, and Nevada are under a flash flood watch with an additional three to six inches of rain possible from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
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