Click photo to enlarge
Trash collects along the shore after after a rainstorm in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Evacuation orders remained in effect for hundreds of homes in Los Angeles County foothill communities where fires have burned away vegetation that holds soil in place, and bursts of rain caused the mountains to belch occasional debris flows.
LOS ANGELES—Saturated mountainsides loomed over foothill communities on Saturday as a storm centered off California rotated bands of rain into a state that sorely needs the moisture but not at such dangerously high rates.

Evacuation orders remained in effect for hundreds of homes in Los Angeles County foothill communities where fires have burned away vegetation that holds soil in place, and bursts of rain caused the mountains to belch occasional debris flows.

The storm marked a sharp departure from many months of drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state's vast farming industry. However, such storms would have to become common to make serious inroads against the drought, weather forecasters have said.

Storm cloud blanket the downtown Los Angeles skyline as seen from Glendora, Calif., Saturday, March 1, 2014. A burst of heavy showers before dawn Saturday
Storm cloud blanket the downtown Los Angeles skyline as seen from Glendora, Calif., Saturday, March 1, 2014. A burst of heavy showers before dawn Saturday impacted wildfire-scarred mountainsides above foothill suburbs east of Los Angeles, causing another round of mud and debris flows in the city of Glendora. ((AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu))

Officials warned of scattered showers through Saturday night before tapering off past midnight. While the danger was subsiding, they urged residents who left their homes as much as three days earlier to stay away until Sunday morning.

"The good news is that it looks like the storm will pass ... but we still need to evaluate the safety of the area" before people can return home, Assistant Chief Steve Martin of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told a webcast news conference.

The National Weather Service said the storm is forecast to move east over the Rockies and into the Plains and Mississippi Valley through Sunday, bringing a hodgepodge of precipitation. Colorado's ski resorts could see up to 6 inches of fresh snow. A mixture of sleet and snow in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois will eventually change over to all snow—with up to 8 inches forecast for Kansas City and the St. Louis area—while northern Arkansas will see freezing rain. The system also has its sights set on the Appalachians and the East Coast into Monday.

The storm's eastward move on Saturday finally broke a 70-day streak without precipitation in the Phoenix area. An 85-day spell of no measureable rainfall in Las Vegas ended Friday. Rain and snow also finally came to drought-stricken New Mexico. In Denver, a highway pileup involving more than 100 vehicles killed one person and injured 30 others as heavy snow fell Saturday, authorities said.

In California, about 1,200 houses in the adjacent cities of Azusa and Glendora as well as nearby Monrovia have been under evacuation orders because of the possibility of destructive flows from the San Gabriel Mountains, a rugged range largely covered by the Angeles National Forest. A dozen homes in Azusa were in particular danger.

Television news footage shows mud burying one backyard, swallowing a metal fence and reaching up to the rim of a basketball hoop.

Meredith McCarthy and her son Jasper Ward, 7, retrieve a plastic bottle as volunteers with Heal The Bay’s storm response team remove snack-food
Meredith McCarthy and her son Jasper Ward, 7, retrieve a plastic bottle as volunteers with Heal The Bay's storm response team remove snack-food packaging, plastic drink containers, single-use bags and other debris washed into the ocean from the Pico-Kenter outfall, a storm drain that serves a large part of the Westside of Los Angeles, at Santa Monica Beach, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Heavy rains will flush accumulated trash into the ocean, where it becomes a health hazard to humans and sea life. ((AP Photo/Reed Saxon))

"We've got to find a way to get the 100 tons of mud out of my backyard," Ed Heinlein told the Los Angeles Times about the damage to his Azusa property. "We're probably looking at tens of thousands of dollars in damage."

Forecasters said the upper-level low at the storm's center would come ashore and move east through the day, dragging rain with it but leaving only showers in California on Sunday—a lucky break for the evening's Oscar red carpet festivities in Hollywood.

The storm was the much more powerful second act of two systems that hit California during the week.

Downtown San Francisco has received 8.

With the Los Angeles skyline in the background, the Los Angeles River flows Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Two men and their dogs were rescued earlier from the
With the Los Angeles skyline in the background, the Los Angeles River flows Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Two men and their dogs were rescued earlier from the swift waters of the LosĀ AngelesĀ River. A few miles downriver, another man was pulled out and carried to safety. Even with rainfall totals exceeding six inches in some places Friday, the powerful Pacific storm did not put a major dent in a drought that is among the worst in recent California history. ((AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes))
01 inches of rain by Saturday evening, bringing the city to 44 percent of its normal rainfall but avoiding the city's driest-ever "rain year" record by roughly half an inch, NWS meteorologist Matt Mehle said. The driest year was in 1851, with just 7.42 inches. The rain year begins July 1.

"All this rain has been really helpful but we are still behind the curve in terms of the drought," Mehle said.

Downtown Los Angeles tallied 4.34 inches from the second storm by 5 p.m. Saturday, said NWS meteorologist Joe Sirard in Oxnard. That raised the rainfall total to 5.54 inches since July 1, still 6.19 inches below normal.

Other trouble spots included about 13 homes that were evacuated Friday night in the Lake Hughes area in northern Los Angeles County after a mudslide closed a major road.

Skiers crowd the slopes at Snow Valley, Calif. as a strong storm dumped fresh snow on the slopes Saturday, March 1, 2014. A powerful Pacific storm hit the
Skiers crowd the slopes at Snow Valley, Calif. as a strong storm dumped fresh snow on the slopes Saturday, March 1, 2014. A powerful Pacific storm hit the state early Saturday, but did not put a major dent in a drought that is among the worst in recent California history. MANDATORY CREDIT: THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE, MARK MUCKENFUSS ((AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Mark Muckenfuss) MANDATORY CREDIT: THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE, MARK MUCKENFUSS)
 To the east in San Bernardino County, a levee failed and put eight houses in danger of serious flooding, but county fire crews were working to protect them and no evacuations were ordered.

In Santa Barbara County, strong waves sent water crashing into a beachside restaurant in Goleta and three boats onto the sand and a pier, county fire Capt. Martin Johnson said. The restaurant's manager told KEYT-TV that one of his employees was swept out into the ocean and underneath the pier, where he was able to get out of the water. Another employee was pushed back inside the restaurant by a rogue wave but was not seriously hurt.

At the north end of Monterey Bay, strong waves apparently broke through the foundation of a seaside home, creating a blowhole on the driveway and shooting water over the roof. Also, a stretch of the oceanfront drive in Santa Cruz was shut down Saturday after a large sinkhole appeared in a cliff, opening the roof of a cave where homeless people have lived. Authorities said public works was investigating.

The storm was so volatile that a tornado warning was issued early Saturday for suburbs east of Los Angeles.

Numerous traffic accidents occurred on slick or flooded roads across California, including one about 60 miles east of Los Angeles involving a big rig whose driver died after falling from a freeway overpass. The Fresno County sheriff's office also reported a man was injured by lightning Friday.

Utilities were working to repair numerous scattered power outages.

———

Associated Press writer Garance Burke contributed to this report from San Francisco. Martha Mendoza reported from Santa Cruz. Tami Abdollah reported from Los Angeles.