Twin storms to douse parched cities, crops

Meteorologists forecast a pair of storms that could dump several inches of rain on parched cities and croplands throughout California in the coming week, bringing welcome news to a state that has just endured its driest year in recorded history.

Although the rain won’t be enough to end the drought, the National Weather Service projected Sunday that the precipitation could nearly double the amount of rainfall in parts of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area this year.

By Saturday, the twin Pacific storms are expected to bring as much as two inches of rain to the coast and several feet of snow to the Sierra Nevada.

The first storm, on Wednesday, won’t offer much relief, just light overnight rains heading into Thursday. By Friday, radar images show that the second storm should drench the entire state for 24 hours.

The heavy rains are likely to lead to flash flooding and runoff, carrying mud, trees and debris in areas burned in recent fires, such as the Colby fire, near Glendora.

— Associated Press

Trial starts in alleged
rape-murder plot

Jury selection will begin Monday in the trial of a New Jersey man and a former Manhattan school librarian charged with conspiring to rape, torture and murder women and children, a case that grew from the prosecution of a New York police officer on cannibalism charges.

About 90 prospective jurors will be introduced to the case before they answer nine written questions meant to ensure that they could remain fair and impartial despite the lurid nature of some of the trial evidence.

Michael Vanhise, 23, of Trenton, N.J., and Robert Christopher Asch, 61, of New York, are charged with plotting from spring 2011 to January 2013 to kidnap, rape, torture and kill women and children, including Vanhise’s wife, stepdaughter,
sister-in-law and her children. They also are charged with conspiring early last year in a plot against another woman.

No one was harmed, and defense attorneys say that the charges arose from a misinterpretation by the government of the sharing online of sexual fantasies among the men.

— Associated Press

Two Indiana children die after fire: Two young children died Sunday from injuries they sustained in a house fire that killed two of their siblings and their parents, an Indianapolis Fire Department spokeswoman said. Miranda Guerra, 14, and her 6-year-old brother, Fuentes, were pronounced dead Sunday afternoon at Riley Hospital for Children, Capt. Rita Reith said. Authorities said Lionel “Leo” Guerra, 47, and his wife, Brandy Mae, 33, were pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Eskenazi Hospital on Saturday. The couple’s 11-year-old son, Esteban, and 8-year-old daughter, Blanquita, were pronounced dead Saturday at Riley Hospital. A fifth child, Luis Guerra, whose age was not reported, is alive. It wasn’t clear where he was at the time of the fire.

Montana man dies in avalanche: A Montana man died in an avalanche while riding his snowmobile on the Idaho-Montana border. Authorities say a group of four men on snowmobiles triggered the avalanche about 1:15 p.m. Saturday while riding in the West Cabinet Range, about 15 miles southwest of Troy, Mont. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department identified the deceased snowmobiler as Bryan William Harlow, 49, of Libby, Mont.

— From news services