THREE PEOPLE DIED AS STORM SOCKS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, FLOODING FREEWAYS

Three people were killed as a powerful storm soaked Southern California, flooding freeways and knocking out power to tens of thousands.

A 55-year-old man in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, died after apparently being electrocuted by live power lines brought down by a tree, and a person was found dead inside a submerged car near Victorville, fire officials said. A passenger was killed in a four-vehicle crash after a driver hydroplaned on a San Diego interstate, NBC San Diego reported.

A stretch of Interstate 5 in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles flooded, causing huge traffic delays, and prompting crews to use generators to try and pump water off the road, the California Department of Transportation said.

Ten vehicles were stuck in a flooded road in Sun Valley and eight people trapped by fast-moving water were rescued by firefighters, the fire department said.

In Studio City, two cars plummeted into a large sinkhole that opened in a street Friday night, the fire department said. A 48-year-old woman around 10 feet below the street was rescued with a ladder, and was taken to a hospital in fair condition, the department said. The driver of the second car was able to get out unaided.

“At one point the wind was so strong I’m surprised it didn’t blow my windows out,” retiree Phoenix Hocking told The Associated Press in a Facebook message from Carpinteria on the Pacific coast. “I now have a pond in my patio. And my dog is starting to grow flippers so he can go out and do his business.”

The storm caused large power outages. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said electricity was knocked out for around around 82,000 customers as of 8 PM, and Southern California Edison said 67,000 of its customers were without power as of 9 PM.

Santa Barbara airport closed after runways flooded. Eight people were rescued from floodwaters in Los Angeles, the fire department said.

The storm was expected to be the most powerful in six years. Sixty-three flights scheduled to arrive or depart from Los Angeles International Airport were canceled Friday, and 270 others were delayed, the airport said.

Total rainfall predictions ranged from 2 inches to 6 inches on the coast and from 5 inches to 10 inches in foothills and coastal mountains.

Rainfall totals ranged from 3.5 inches in Santa Barbara to 9 inches in Santa Ynez Mountain Range, and Ojai in Ventura County got 6 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said Friday evening. Beverly Hills saw 2.45 inches of rain and Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley got 4.73 inches, the weather service said.

Downtown Los Angeles got less than 2 inches, the weather service shortly after 9 PM local time (12 AM ET) but more rain was possible. The amount of rain downtown was likely to fall short of a record 2.18 inches set in 1884, the weather service said.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com

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