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Severe weather roars through I.E., L.A.

October 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some Inland Empire communities were under a severe thunderstorm warning Saturday, while rain, hail and lightning also roared through northern Los Angeles County.

In Palmdale, evidence left behind by a storm was easy to spot.

"It was pretty wild," said Palmdale resident Mark Getzfrid. "It hailed for a while, the wind came up and it was overcast all day."

In Yucaipa, the pounding rain and gusting wind had residents scrambling for cover. Some said the devastating aftermath was too much to handle.

"I don't have shoes, I don't have clothes," said one woman carrying her newborn baby as she waded through a flooded street that reached above her ankles.

She was forced to flee from her home after a sudden downpour flooded a section of a street near her home. Some areas were flooded 2-feet deep because of a blocked drain.

Several homes and businesses were seriously damaged.

"The downpour came and the water came down from the roadway and blocked this all up," said John Kemp of Yucaipa as he pointed to a flooded street.

From flooded streets in the Inland Empire to raindrops in Long Beach, the wild weather was hit or miss across the Southland.

Lightning strikes were seen across the Southland early Saturday morning, but the wild weather did not stop many from enjoying outdoor activities.

"This morning, for the first time, we've had a little bit of sprinkles," said boater David Schassner."Heard a little thunder in the background yesterday but nothing locally."

Schassner was out on his boat, The Affirmation, Saturday morning, even in the face of possible thunderstorms forecasted for much of the Southland.

Joggers and cyclists were also out and about in Long Beach, even with looming dark clouds overhead.

In addition to lightning and thunderstorms, the wild weather also unleashed downpours across Southern California on Friday and caused widespread power outages.

By Friday night, Southern California Edison said they restored power to 5,358 customers who were left in the dark. By Saturday morning, the utility said most of the power was restored.

Just after 3 p.m. Saturday, SCE said 2,047 customers were without power. The cities affected were Whittier, Pomona, La Puente, West Covina and Glendora.

Fullerton was hit hard by Friday's storm. One man was struck by lightning Friday.

Les Bidrawn was about to get into his car just after 9 a.m. beneath the tree when the lightning struck.

"Touched my car, all the hair on my arm starts standing up. And then, boom, I'm in the bushes, I'm looking up, and my palm tree's on fire," said Bidrawn. He was not injured, but his ears were ringing.

Also, Fullerton College canceled classes and closed its campus due to an outage.

In San Bernardino County, a 50-year-old man was injured by a lightning strike on a crane at a construction site in Fontana.

It wasn't known if the man was touching the crane or was near it, but he was thrown hard to the ground by the lightning strike. He was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening, officials said.


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