Record rainfall in Southern California led to flooding and landslides this week, particularly in the Los Angeles area, where the local branch of Catholic Charities is soliciting donations to help with relief efforts.

After four straight days of heavy rain ended on Wednesday, some parts of the L.A. metro area, such as Bel Air, had received more than a foot of rain. Others received over half their average annual rainfall in a period of just two days.

As of late Monday, Los Angeles authorities had responded to more than 475 mudslides, with 38 homes or buildings damaged by debris flows, including four that were deemed unsafe to enter, the Los Angeles Times reported. Nine people are confirmed dead so far in the region.

Alexandria Arnold, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, told CNA that the geographic area they serve — which includes the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara — is facing flooding and mudslides expected to be some of the “largest and most significant in our counties’ history.”

“Catholic Charities of Los Angeles has a Disaster Relief Fund that will be used to help families and individuals who are suffering from the effects of the storm, and Catholic Charities USA is sending additional funding for disaster relief,” Arnold said.

She encouraged people of goodwill to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles online.

After years of serious drought, California endured an extremely wet 2023 that saw “atmospheric rivers” bring drenching rains and mudslides to parts of the state. One community affected last year was Montecito, located on the Pacific coast about 100 miles west of Los Angeles.

“Praise God, we got through the storm pretty well. No major damage here,” Father Lawrence Seyer, pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montecito, California, told CNA this week via email.

“My basement flooded. Other than that we’re doing good. I think Los Angeles had more devastation than we did up here.”

A massive mudslide in January 2018 caused by similar weather conditions killed nearly two dozen people in Montecito. Almost exactly a year ago, the entire town was ordered to evacuate because of significant flooding, mudslides, and debris flows.

During the 2023 weather event in Montecito, Seyer said he was invoking the protection of St. Margaret of Hungary, who lived in the 13th century and is considered the patron saint of floods.