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Rain and snow storms lash Southern California, snarling traffic during morning commute
California Storm CA 5266061
Trucks move along Interstate 5 which remains closed as a result of a winter storm Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008, in Castaic, Calif., about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. - photo by Associated Press
    LOS ANGELES — Streets flooded, hillsides slipped and commuters cursed Friday during powerful rain and snow storms that lashed Southern California.
    The morning commute was long, wet and — in some cases — treacherous. Traffic accidents doubled compared to the usual rush hour, California Highway Patrol Officer Miguel Luevano estimated.
    No road deaths were reported on Los Angeles-area freeways.
    Near downtown, at least two cars were stuck in door handle-deep water on a flooded street.
    About 6,700 customers were without electricity after power lines toppled, city Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Gale Harris said.
    In some hillside areas, minor mudslides were reported with no injuries. Canyons scarred by wildfires last fall held despite a fifth day of rain but flash flood watches remained in effect.
    Mountain ski resorts were blanketed with as much as 18 inches of fresh snow accompanying storms that began pummeling the region Tuesday.
    Some areas Thursday received more rain than they did the entire year before, National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Meier said, though experts said the moisture would do little to improve local water supplies.
    By Friday morning, Long Beach had received 2.43 inches of rain, compared to 2.1 over the previous 12 months, Meier said. Downtown Los Angeles had received 2.25 inches and Santa Barbara was drenched with 5.4 inches.
    At least one waterspout from the Pacific made landfall Thursday night, the National Weather Service said. The tornado tore the roof off of a building at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, meteorologist Curt Kaplan said.
    Vance Vasquez, a base spokesman, said debris was scattered across the runway and ‘‘a good portion’’ of the roof was torn from Hangar 351, which houses aircraft. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
    Authorities were concerned about another storm forecast to hit the area over the weekend. Forecasters were predicting 4 to 6 inches to hit south and southwest facing mountain slopes between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
    The storm was not expected to improve local water supplies. One of the driest rain seasons on record left reservoirs so low last year that several cities called for voluntary water conservation.

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