California storm shuts roadways
LOS ANGELES &
Several major roadways across the state were closed early today after the latest in a week's worth of storms, and experts warned that the risk of mudslides has not eased even as wet weather begins moving out of the region.
Snow forced the closure of the main artery between Sacramento and Reno, Nev., California Department of Transportation said Sunday night. Eastbound Interstate 80 was closed at Colfax about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, and westbound traffic was being held at the Nevada state line.
Officials also closed a nearly 130-mile stretch of Interstate 395, from just north of Bishop to the Nevada line.
Highway 92 was reopened Sunday after being shut down for a few hours between Skyline Boulevard and Half Moon Bay south of San Francisco after the storms knocked down trees and power lines.
Experts say hillsides in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties charred by last year's wildfires remain at risk for landslides.
Near San Diego, mud and minor rockslides prompted California Highway Patrol officials to shut Route 78 through a burn area between Ramona and Escondido.
Downtown Los Angeles recorded 5.3 inches of rain in the past seven days, National Weather Service forecaster Ryan Kitrell said.
Additional snowfall accumulations of — to 6 inches were expected for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties before precipitation tailed off by mid-morning today.
The wet weather has pushed the seasonal total for Los Angeles to more than 10 inches &
well ahead of the norm of 6.5 inches for this time of year.
Sue Cannon of the U.S. Geological Survey's landslide hazards program said the ground has not been able to dry out because of the back-to-back storms. "It still is a very hazardous situation," she said.
More than 7,000 customers were without power in southern California on Sunday evening, and the utilities said most of the outages were weather-related. Department of Water and Power officials said about 3,600 Los Angeles customers were in the dark, most of them in North Hollywood.
In downtown Los Angeles, Sunday's basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the L.A. Lakers was delayed 12 minutes after wet rain gear left by roofing company workers on a catwalk led to a steady flow of water on to the Staples Center court.
The Santa Anita race track in Arcadia, meanwhile, canceled horse races for the sixth day this month because of wet conditions on the synthetic track.
About 2,700 Pacific Gas and Electric customers in the Bay Area still lacked power Sunday due to earlier storms, a spokesman for the utility said.
To avoid overflow, the flood gates at the Big Tujunga Dam in the San Gabriel Mountains were opened Sunday, releasing 500 cubic feet of water a second.
An estimated 4,000 people in eastern Washington and northern Idaho were without electricity because of the storms, which left more than a foot of new snow in some areas and was expected to bring more in the coming days.
Three skiers were killed Friday by a trio of avalanches that swept through canyons outside the trails of Mountain High ski resort at Wrightwood, northeast of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains.
At least two traffic fatalities were believed linked to the storm. One person was killed and two critically injured Sunday afternoon on rain-soaked Pacific Coast Highway near Santa Cruz. On Saturday night, a 21-year-old man died after his truck flipped over onto rain-slicked Interstate 10 in the Southern California desert city of Indio.
Associated Press writer Chris Weber and AP Sports Writer John Nadel contributed to this report.