A State Of Instability

California's cliffs are so saturated that the landslides could get even worse

I'll never forget in my life the noise I heard," says Gary Lemonoff, a house painter who lives near Laguna Beach, Calif. "There was a roar, my trailer started shaking, and rocks and mud and boulders and tree limbs went rolling across my driveway." When the roar stopped, in the blackness of the night Lemonoff could hear his neighbors screaming. For a time, it seemed that all had survived, including a 9-month-old baby someone miraculously plucked from the mud. But as the sun rose, Lemonoff spotted a foot and forearm protruding from a pile of mud and rubble just outside his...

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