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Southern California Residents Urged to Stay Vigilant for Mudslides as Rain Pummels the Region

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As rain pours down on Southern California, residents are being urged to remain vigilant for mudslides and flash floods in the wake of a slow-moving winter storm that has battered the region with heavy rains and strong winds.

The storm, which began on Sunday, is expected to bring 2 to 5 inches of rain to L.A. before moving out of the area on Wednesday. Richard Thompson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard, warned that the “second impulse” of the weather system will bring more intense and unpredictable conditions, with the potential for thunderstorms, risky wind gusts, and even tornadoes.

Authorities have issued flash flood warnings for a wide swath of L.A., from Malibu to Griffith Park, as well as parts of the San Fernando Valley, due to the effect of additional rain on hillsides and creek beds already saturated by a massive storm earlier this month. Residents are encouraged to remain in their homes and stay vigilant for signs of mudslides.

Throughout the day, there have been scattered reports of mudslides, including on Pacific Coast Highway near Santa Monica, the U.S. 101 near La Conchita in Ventura County, and north of Malibu, where large boulders have reportedly blocked lanes at the intersection of Malibu Canyon and Piuma roads.

An evacuation warning has been issued for possible mud and debris flows along Santa Maria Road north of Topanga Canyon Boulevard through 9 a.m. Wednesday. Damage in the city of L.A. as of Monday afternoon appeared mostly limited to a handful of downed trees and flooded freeway ramps.

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In Santa Barbara, where some places in the Santa Ynez mountains recorded nearly 10 inches of rain by noon, flooding on the tarmac forced the closure of the airport, and a woman’s body was found near a swollen creek. It was unclear whether the death in a downtown Santa Barbara section of Mission Creek was related to the storm.

Long Beach recorded just a quarter of an inch of rain by midday, while Pasadena had 1 inch, Beverly Hills 1.47, downtown .80 and Porter Ranch 2.19. To the north, Ventura saw 3.13 inches, Lompoc 3.44, and the Alisal Reservoir near Solvang 5.93.

Many areas are still recovering from the four-day early February atmospheric river that inundated much of the state and dropped up to 14 inches of rain on L.A. alone.

In Rancho Palos Verdes, residents in neighborhoods vulnerable to landslides were bracing for the possibility of the saturated ground shifting underneath their houses as more rain fell. The landmark Wayfarers Chapel closed indefinitely last week due to increasing land movement, disrupting plans for couples who had intended to get married there.

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to visit the area and see the damage, as Rancho Palos Verdes officials planned to ask him to declare a state of emergency. Brian Ferguson, deputy director of the state Office of Emergency Services, stressed that people should keep their guards up, even if the rainfall seems comparatively minor.

Santa Barbara officials used cranes to remove debris from the flooded runways, and it was unclear when planes could resume operations. The highest precipitation in the state was recorded in the San Marcos Pass in the mountains north of Santa Barbara, where 9.94 inches of rain fell by noon. Despite the challenging conditions, business remained steady at the historic Cold Spring Tavern.

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With the threat of further flooding and landslides looming, residents of Southern California are urged to exercise caution and remain vigilant during this challenging time. The potential for more intense and unpredictable weather conditions increases the risk of disaster, and it’s crucial for everyone to stay informed and prepared for any eventuality.

Stay safe, Southern California.

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Immigration in Maine Addressing Labor Shortage Could Set Trend for U.S.

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A significant labor gap in Maine’s lobster industry is being filled by immigrants, shedding light on the critical role that foreign-born workers are likely to play in the U.S. economy as the native-born population ages. Maine, known for its abundant lobster population, is grappling with an aging workforce that is increasingly unable to sustain the demands of the thriving lobster industry, valued at $1 billion.

Ben Conniff, a founder of Luke’s Lobster, underscores the importance of immigrants in sustaining the natural resources economy of the state, as many native-born workers are not inclined towards manufacturing work in food processing. Since its establishment in 2013, Luke’s Lobster has heavily relied on immigrants to staff its lobster processing plant, highlighting the vital role played by foreign-born workers in filling labor gaps.

With Maine boasting the oldest population in the U.S., with a median age of 45.1, the state offers a glimpse into the economic future of America, where immigrants are poised to be a crucial source of new workers and economic vitality in the coming years.

As immigration continues to be a hotly debated topic in the country, the influx of immigrants has been instrumental in boosting the American economy’s potential. The Congressional Budget Office has revised upwards its population and economic growth projections for the next decade, attributing the growth to the wave of newcomers entering the workforce.

Maine’s initiatives to attract and integrate immigrants into the workforce, such as the creation of an Office of New Americans, reflect the state’s proactive approach towards addressing labor shortages. Private companies like Luke’s Lobster have also taken steps to diversify and supplement the aging lobster fishing industry by training immigrants and minorities in lobster fishing and licensing processes.

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Chadai Gatembo, an 18-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, exemplifies the success story of immigrants finding opportunities in Maine. Despite facing challenges on his journey to the U.S., Gatembo is now on the path to becoming a full-fledged lobsterman, showcasing the potential for immigrants to thrive in new industries.

The influx of immigrants is not without its challenges, with issues of work authorization and economic stability confronting many newcomers. Adriana Hernandez, a mother of four from Venezuela, highlights the economic hardship faced by immigrants awaiting work permits, underscoring the barriers faced by unauthorized workers in integrating into the labor market.

Despite these challenges, the overall impact of immigration on the U.S. economy is significant. Immigrants have helped to bolster job growth, insulate the economy against downturns, and contribute to a more diverse and innovative workforce. Economists predict that immigration will play a crucial role in addressing labor shortages and demographic shifts as the native-born population ages.

The entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants like Chenda Chamreoun, who has risen from lobster cleaning to a quality assurance supervisor and now aims to start her own catering business, showcases the economic potential of foreign-born workers. Immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial, adding to the innovation and productivity of the American economy.

J. Edward Moreno contributed reporting from New York, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Washington.

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