LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The US West Coast’s most ferocious storm in years triggered rockslides, power outages and hurricane force winds on Friday in southern California, a day after claiming two lives in the Northwest.
At least 450,000 customers have been hit by power outages since the storm hit Wednesday in northern California, Washington state and Oregon, according to the PG & E utility, although by Friday morning, power had been restored to most homes.
The storm swept south into usually sunny southern California overnight, bringing commuter chaos with five times as many accidents on Los Angeles freeways, as motorists not used to rain struggled to control their cars.
In Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles, a rockslide engulfed several homes in Camarillo Springs, where over 100 homes were forcibly evacuated in the early hours as the storm arrived.
Two people had to be rescued from a swollen river just north of downtown LA, emergency officials said.
Further inland in the mountains, up to six inches (15 centimetres) of snow was forecast, bringing chaos but also relief to local ski areas that have suffered from lack of precipitation in a historic three-year drought.