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Chance of mudslides worries rainsoaked Calif.

LOS ANGELES - Southern California authorities ordered the evacuation of 232 homes in foothill suburbs of Los Angeles Tuesday because of forecasts of more heavy rains on already saturated mountainsides.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department urged residents of 147 homes in La Canada Flintridge and 85 residences in adjacent La Crescenta to comply with the order.

Emergency agencies have been monitoring the threat of debris flows and mudslides in the communities since last year's Station Fire, an arson-caused blaze that burned away vegetation on 250 square miles of the San Gabriel Mountains.

If six days of pounding rain wasn't enough to spoil the holidays, a seventh could prove downright dangerous.

Forecasters expected heavy rains across California going into today, while authorities kept a close eye on the first sign of mudslides in the southern part of the state.

So far, the inconveniences have been relatively minor: Rescuers had to pluck some stranded motorists from rain-swollen creeks. Disney resorts canceled a plan to shower visitors with artificial snow.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed, but the more rain that comes, the possibility of mudslides is definitely real," said Jim Amormino of the Orange County sheriff's office, which had rescued nine people from the flooding in the past 24 hours.

For all the perils of the torrential rains, there was a silver lining: The water is expected to help ease the effects of years of drought. Thursday is expected to be dry, with sunshine. There will be light rain on Christmas Day in parts of California. - AP

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