LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. – Axl Dominguez awoke early Wednesday to a bumping sound and looked out the window to a scary sight: plastic trashcans floating down the flooded street.
And then the water came rushing into his house.
"We didn't have time to get anything ... Water started coming in from all the walls. Then the wall fell and we got out through the window," the 15-year-old Dominguez said hours later, shivering in shorts, a mud-splashed sweat shirt and bare feet as he carried his pajama-clad little brother to the truck of a neighbor who finally took them to an evacuation center.
The tail end of a storm that dumped rain on Southern California for nearly a week gave the region one final lashing, burying houses and cars in mud, washing hillsides onto highways, flooding urban streets, threatening dozens of canyon homes and spreading filthy water that prompted the closure of 12 miles of Orange County beaches.
Inflatable boats and canoes were used to rescue dozens of motorists and homeowners from flooded streets, hotels and hillsides. Others refused to leave their homes, even as dirty water and mud sliced through their neighborhoods.