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Storm system causes damage across Southern California

March 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A heavy band of rain and snow triggered traffic accidents and caused damage across Southern California on Sunday.

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City of Vernon officials say nearly 20 power poles were knocked down by strong winds about 3 p.m. Power was knocked out to 109 residents. A bridge over Atlantic Boulevard was shut down as crews worked to repair the damage.

More than 11,000 Southern California Edison customers were without power due to the storm. The most affected were in Monterey Park, Arcadia, Carson, Commerce, Compton, Cypress, Huntington Park, Long Beach, Paramount, Redondo Beach and Signal Hill. Officials with the utility said crews were working to restore power.

The rain hit Northern California first, then the band of wet weather moved south starting with Ventura County. Thousand Oaks down to Malibu saw showers in the morning, with particularly heavy pockets of rainfall in Oxnard and Camarillo.

The storm hit Los Angeles County by late morning, and Orange County and the Inland Empire were hit by the early afternoon, though the heaviest rainfall came later in the day. The coast and valleys will see moderate showers around .75- 1.5 inches of rainfall. For the foothills and mountains, expect 2-4 inches of rain for southern facing slopes along with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

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Several roads were closed near the Sepulveda Dam due to the heavy rainfall. Vehicles plowed through water on Burbank Boulevard that was nearly up to their door before officials shut down roads. The reason for the flooding was apparently because of clogged sewers.

The early-spring storm also dumped fresh snow in the local mountains.

Rim of the World Unified School District canceled classes Monday due to the snow. According to a phone recording, Bear Valley Unified School District will be open Monday.

Mountain High ski resort in Wrightwood got a heavy coat of fresh powder and it was expected to pick up through the night. The resort sits at about 7,000 feet.

With the storm came strong winds of 25 to 35 mph, which made those riding the ski lift a bit uneasy.

"The lift, it's really bad. You can't wait to get off," said Michael Prior of Valencia.

Temperatures were expected to top off in the upper 50s for downtown L.A., beaches and valleys with low 40s in the local mountains and 70s-80s for desert areas.

Winter storm warnings were in effect across the mountain areas in L.A. and Ventura counties. About 8-16 inches of snow is expected above 5,000 feet, and as much as 20 inches are expected above 7,000 feet. For the San Bernardino mountain areas, as much as 18 inches of snow was expected above 6,500 feet. The winter storm warnings were set to expire by Monday morning.

Also, wind advisories are up for Orange County, the I.E. and into the valley areas. Strong winds are expected with gusts of up to 40 mph. The wind advisories are expected to expire by 8 p.m. Sunday.

The rainstorm stopped Sunday's NASCAR race at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

The race got under way at about noon, but NASCAR tweeted that the red flag was displayed at about 1 p.m., signalling the stop of competition. The race was officially halted after lap 129 out of 200, and Tony Stewart was declared the winner, marking his second NASCAR victory of the season.

Showers were expected to clear out as the storm pushes from the northwest to the southeast with 20 percent chance of rain for Monday morning.

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