A strong storm is expected to bring drenching rain and the threat of flash flooding and landslides to Southern California late Friday and through the weekend, the National Weather Service warned Thursday.
In Los Angeles, heavy rains downed power lines hitting a vehicle and then electrocuting a man who later died in the hospital. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes, more than 300 flights into LA have been disrupted, and a number of potentially deadly sinkholes have open up along the roads, swallowing cars. Firefighters rescued one person from the first auto, and the driver escaped from the second vehicle before it fell into the hole.
National Weather Service said the storms carried a threat of flooding, mudslides and unsafe travel.
With a storm this powerful on the way it is also a good idea to protect your home with sandbags, if you area is prone to flooding.
It is part of a series of storms to have hit California recently, after the state suffered from five years of drought.
Another motorist died in their auto when it was submerged in a flash flood in Victorville, a town 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
With more showers in the forecast, several locations throughout Riverside County offer free sand and sandbags to residents while quantities last.
One man was found dead in a submerged vehicle in the desert town of Victorville after several cars were washed down a flooded street, San Bernardino county fire spokesman Eric Sherwin said.
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In a sign of the power of the winds, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to more than 150 reports of downed electrical wires.
From canceled flights, horse races and closed highways, to the cancellation of Pasadena's Black History Month parade on Saturday, Californians are preparing for the worst as this storm moves toward the northern regions of the state.
Winds: South 30 to 50 miles per hour with gusts 70 to 90 miles per hour at all elevations. The area received about 3 inches of rain as of Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service said: "The storm looks to be the strongest storm to hit southwest California this season. I said, 'Oh, my gosh, Is it just a parked car?'" Prvinic recalled. Still, officials lowered releases from the dam's damaged main spillway from 100,000 cubic feet per second to 80,000 cubic feet per second - still far above the normal rate.
As the heavy rains drenched the area, Duarte, a city northeast of Los Angeles, issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents of 200 homes.
Wind-driven rain has been falling since early Friday on coastal counties northwest of Los Angeles and is expected to spread across the metropolitan region through the day.
This storm is the first in a coming wave of atmospheric river-type storms that will affect California for the next week, raising concerns of continued flooding risks and stresses on water infrastructure like the Oroville Dam in north central California. Up the coast, evacuations were urged for parts of Camarillo Springs in Ventura County and around an 11½-square-mile burn scar west of Santa Barbara.