At least 4 dead as fierce Southern California storm causes flash floods

A powerful storm hit California with the first in a new series of rainstorms moving across the northern half of the state while the south awaited a rains that forecasters said could be the strongest in years if not decades.

A helicopter rescued one person from the roof of a auto but another motorist was found dead in a submerged vehicle, San Bernardino County fire spokesman Eric Sherwin said.

A 55-year-old man was killed when a tree fell, causing power lines to fall on his vehicle and electrocute him in in the Sherman Oaks district, in Los Angeles. The driver in the vehicle behind him drowned. The area is reportedly still operating under an emergency situation. The heavy rains will also cause flash flooding, mudslides and debris flows. Particularly at risk locations are those near recent burn areas, and mud- and rockslides near canyon walls, the weather agency said.

"The rainy season has been insane in California, with multiple atmospheric river events directing moist onshore flow and precipitation along the mainly central and northern coasts while Southern California has been left out".

"The weather service says the storm will drop 1" to 2" of rain along the coast of San Diego County, and up to 2.5" of precipitation in the mountains.

About 150,000 households in the LA area were without electricity, and 180 homes were evacuated in the city of Duarte, in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains.

"Evacuated residents are encouraged to bring medicines and any other items they may need for a minimum 48-hour period", according to a notice issued by the city.

Mudslides closed several freeways, more than 50,000 Southern Californians lost power, and at least two sinkholes opened up in roadways. An official at Los Angeles International Airport said 64 flights were cancelled and 269 delayed because of the storm.

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Highways were forced to close on Friday across California, causing major traffic disruptions. Southwest Airlines canceled nearly all of its flights in and out of the area on Friday, along with some Saturday.

After a brief respite Sunday, another storm system is expected to move into the region on Monday, bringing several more days of rain, forecasters said. The 21-year-old took to Instagram to share details and photos of the damage that was caused.

"There is more than enough room in the lake to continue accommodating incoming water and the lake level will continue to be lowered", the state Department of Water Resources said Friday.

Oroville Dam is the highest in the nation, and its reservoir is the second-largest in the state. The emergency spillway is to the far left.

Winds gusting to 70 miles per hour or more lashed parts of the region. Water levels have since receded slightly. Oroville was said to be eerily deserted on Sunday. Flash flooding is also a concern in urban areas.

A picture released by the California Department of Water Resources shows the the hole in the main damaged spillway and erosion to the hillside.

Alberto Moreno, 34, piled sandbags outside his home on Friday after refusing to leave the area.

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