‘I want to go home’

© Reuters.

By Jane Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Flooding from torrential downpours sweeping Southern California cut off a seaside Los Angeles hotel on Monday and temporarily stranded its guests, some seeking to escape the Midwest’s harsh winter weather only to get caught up in a major Pacific storm.

Vacationers at the Inn at Playa del Rey, four blocks from the Pacific Ocean overlooking a protected marsh, awoke on Monday morning unable to leave the hotel due to street flooding on all sides of the property, as crews worked to pump away ponds of rainwater.

The innkeeper, Susan Zolla, said it was some of the worst flooding she had seen in her 28 years as owner of the hotel.

“My guests? They don’t know how to get out. They don’t know how to get in,” Zolla said.

Alice White-Zmigrocki, 66, and her husband Joe Zmigrocki, 74, said they were visiting Los Angeles from Chicago to get away from a foot (30 cm) of snow and below-zero temperatures gripping their hometown.

“I want to go home,” White-Zmigrocki, a retired teacher, told Reuters. “This is not California.”

Her husband, a certified public accountant, said the biggest inconvenience from the flooding was not being able to venture off the grounds for breakfast, but he said the hotel was serving up coffee and pastries to the stranded guests.

“I felt kind of sorry for people that live here and have to put up with this, because it’s really an inconvenience and dangerous to life,” he said.

The storm, the second atmospheric river system to drench Southern California in recent days, has dumped more than 10 inches (25 cm) of rain over the Los Angeles area since Sunday, triggering widespread street flooding and mudslides.

Two people were killed by wind-toppled trees in Northern California in the midst of the same storm on Sunday.

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