Powerful storm causes deaths, damage across SoCal

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Southern California residents are cleaning up and taking stock of the damage after Friday's storm, even as scattered showers continued to fall on Saturday.

At least 3 people were killed in the greater Los Angeles area due to the storm that swept the Southland, flooding a number of highways and streets and downing trees and power lines.

A 55-year-old man was killed in Sherman Oaks when a tree fell on top of power lines and a vehicle, and a large sinkhole swallowed two cars in Studio City, injuring one woman.

In Victorville, a driver was found dead inside a car that became submerged in flood waters.

And three men were rescued from the Arroyo Conego Creek, but a fourth man who was with them had been swept away in the current and drowned.

The storm was particularly brutal in the Santa Clarita Valley, where officials reported multiple power lines being down and disruptions in service due to flooding and road closures on Friday.

As the rain grew in intensity, trees were felled by the combination of high winds and saturated ground. Los Angeles Fire Department officials reported dozens of fallen trees around the city Friday and today.

The Sepulveda Basin recreation area in the San Fernando Valley was closed Friday afternoon due to rising water in the basin, and Caltrans officials reported a rockslide slowed traffic on the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway in the Grapevine.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said there were as many as 150 reports of electrical wires being downed in the city. Both the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison reported tens of thousands of customers were without power late Friday, and the DWP estimated that more than 50,000 customers were still without power today.

Air travel was also in disarray Friday, with hundreds of flights canceled at Burbank, Los Angeles International and John Wayne airports. At LAX, more than 300 flights were impacted. Southwest Airlines canceled almost all of its flights in and out of the area on Friday, along with some today.

Nearly 3 inches of rain fell in the Van Nuys area over a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. A record 1.96 inches fell at Long Beach Airport, breaking the daily rainfall record of 1.81 inches set in 1980. A record 0.59 inches fell in Lancaster, breaking the 2005 record of 0.23 inches.

The storm was particularly strong because it was tapping into a so- called atmospheric river over the Pacific, sucking up volumes of warm subtropical moisture, forecasters said.

High surf is expected along the coast through Sunday as a result of a large storm-generated westerly swell, with the biggest surf expected today.

``Large waves and strong rip currents will increase the risk of ocean drowning for swimmers and surfers,'' according to the NWS statement. ``Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches or rocks and capsize small boats near shore.''

Forecasters said the area will get a break from the rain on Sunday before more showers return Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

LA County is asking residents and business owners impacted by the storm to take action by reporting the damages through a damage assessment survey.  To complete the survey, go to www.211la.org and click the banner for 'Damage Assessment Survey.' You can also call 211 LA County tollfree by dialing 2-1-1.

Keep up to date on L.A. County road closures

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