California Wraps Up 2010 on a Soggy Note

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While the Northeast is digging out from snow, southern California residents are recovering Thursday from massive mudslides caused by a second round of heavy rains and snow.

"It's just been horrible," said Louie Berrera, a mudslide victim. "We can't sleep. We're having a hard time. It's just one thing after another right now."

As the storm clouds closed in, people worked frantically to prepare any way they could, like stuffing a 100,000 sandbags.

"We have done everything we can, we've provided every safety measure we can, but we can't control mother nature and we saw her wrath last week," said Bill Peters, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

After heavy storms, rivers of mud and muck slid into dozens of homes before Christmas. Fifty homes that were evacuated last week remain unlivable.

One horse that got stuck in a mud hole near Lake Mathews demonstrated danger of the situation. It took rescuers 4 hours to pull the horse out of the muck.

Officials said the ground in much of California is so saturated, there'll be the danger of mudslides and flows of debris through the end of winter. However, the latest round of storms was not as severe as officials originally predicted.

"It gets to the point where the water that's falling is no longer even going into the ground -- it's just skipping off the ground," Bob Spencer, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, told UPI.

"A lot of residents are under the false impression that once the sun comes out, everything is fine," he continued. "That's not the case. The soil beneath the surface can take months to completely dry out."

The Los Angeles reported Wednesday that this December has been the wettest on record in the Golden State since 1889.

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