Rain respite prompts searches for victims Death toll hits 6 in Los Angeles. More rain due.


LOS ANGELES -- Assisted by a respite between storms, rescue workers searched for victims of the devastating floods that swept through Southern California this week as residents and cleanup crews braced for another big storm.

The death toll from the storms rose to at least six yesterday when the body of Adam Bischoff, 15, was discovered in the Los Angeles River Channel in suburban Encino where he disappeared the day before after the failure of numerous rescue attempts.

Preliminary damage estimates for the storms were placed at $7.6 million for Los Angeles County, although that figure is expected to rise considerably before the storms and flooding are finished. Ventura County officials still were calculating losses there today.

At least two more major storms are on the way, National Weather Service forecasters said.

A storm system believed to be at least as severe as any of the previous downpours is expected to arrive late tonight or early tomorrow. Another storm is forming offshore and is expected to reach land by Tuesday.

Citing the danger from new storms, the Los Angeles Unified School District canceled classes for all students today. Day-care centers operated by Parent-Teacher-Student Associations also were to be closed.

After an intense thunderstorm early yesterday, rain clouds that have darkened the skies since Sunday parted to allow a rare glimpse of sunshine and blue sky.

Rainbows formed over several parts of the city during morning rush hour, as motorists enjoyed relatively easy commuting.

So far, the suburban Woodland Hills, an area particularly hit hard by one major storm, has had 14.5 inches of rain for the week.

At the Los Angeles Civic Center, the total for the week was 5.3 inches.

The coming storm could push Los Angeles over its average annual rainfall mark of 14.94 inches.

Forecasters said that a 20 percent of showers going into today will increase by nightfall to 70 percent when another violent storm is expected to hit the area, said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Entrekin. That storm is expected to continue at least through Saturday.

Following dramatic but unsuccessful rescue attempts on Wednesday, searchers returned to the Los Angeles River on Thursday and found the body of the missing Bischoff boy on a riverbank near the Balboa Sports Complex.

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers found his body yesterday about west of the Balboa Avenue Bridge, where rescuers had waited to attempt to rescue him Wednesday. He had fallen into rushing flood waters that fed into the Los Angeles River. At least four rescue attempts were made as he was swept nine miles through the river channel.

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