'It was like Niagara Falls': how California's rich and poor united against a tide of mud

After wildfire and floods, nature has again taken its toll in California, from the rustic Verdugo mountains to Montecito’s celebrity homes

Jeanette Abney owns a big, fancy house and Elizabeth Terry rents a room in a boarding house. But this week they both ended up sleeping on cots in the same American Red Cross evacuation centre, sipping the same instant coffee, nibbling the same pastries and huddling under the same blankets. A rain-sodden poster at the entrance declared “disaster services”.Both women were in need. A storm had drenched the Verdugo mountains, a rugged, rustic outpost of Los Angeles, and unleashed a massive mudsli...