LOS ANGELES – California's second major storm this month dumped snow in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles, sent waterspouts whirling off the Malibu coast and unleashed heavy downpours Wednesday as it punched the south end of the state en route to Arizona.
Rainfall totals for October were well above normal for many areas and were continuing to rise as the storm, which descended out of Alaska, lingered in Southern California.
The storm was expected to produce occasional thunderstorms, additional snow in the mountains and possibly hail until Thursday evening, said forecaster Stan Wasowski of the National Weather Service (search).
Nearly 17,300 Southern California Edison customers were without power, said spokesman Tom Boyd.
In San Bernardino County (search), a mudslide forced authorities to close Interstate 215 in both directions north of Muscoy, a California Highway Patrol (search) dispatcher said. The slide was reported about 4:30 p.m. and crews were working into the night to clear the freeway. No injuries were reported.
The Los Angeles Fire Department on Wednesday rescued two dogs belonging to a Pacoima family that wound up in a swollen storm channel miles from their home. Bear, a 4-year-old border collie, was carried up a ladder by a firefighter and, later in the day, Bruno, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, was lifted to safety by a firefighter who clutched the dog as a helicopter hoisted them out of the storm channel.
Both rain and snow soaked the San Bernardino Mountains (search) where wildfires last year destroyed dozens of homes and left hillsides bare of vegetation. Lake Arrowhead has received 3.85 inches of rain and 2 inches of snow this week, while 2 feet of snow fell in Big Bear City.
The storm further squelched the threat of wildfires but was not enough to reverse the state's six-year drought or reduce wildfire threats for future years, authorities said.
"One wet year does not end a drought," said Matt Mathes, spokesman for U.S. Forest Service in California. "The early rains have knocked down the fire season this year, but this may be an anomaly. This could be a wet year following years of dry spells."
In Los Angeles County, the body of a man was found Wednesday in the Los Angeles River. A swift-water rescue team saved a man from the rushing San Gabriel River east of Los Angeles Tuesday night.
A heavy downpour contributed to an accident in the Orange County suburb of Laguna Niguel, where a sport utility vehicle struck and killed a 14-year-old girl as she walked to school. Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said the girl was wearing a gray, hooded sweat shirt and may have been difficult to see.
In Sun City, a suburb just south of Perris in Riverside County, authorities rescued seven people trapped in their vehicles at an intersection by 4-foot-high floods, said county fire spokesman Patrick Chandler.
In the San Bernardino Mountains, as much as 2 feet of snow fell in Big Bear Valley, closing a highway for several hours after trees struck a power line, said Capt. John Arden of the Big Bear Lake Fire Department.
"The power's intermittent throughout the day," he said. "It's beautiful out with the snow, but it's putting a lot of weight on the tree branches and causing a majority of our problems."
In Devore, a small community in San Bernardino County, mudflows trapped several vehicles on flooded roads.
Los Angeles has recorded about 4.5 inches of rain this month. The record rainfall was in October 1889, when nearly 7 inches fell, according to Bill Mork, meteorologist and climatologist for the California Department of Water Resources (search).
San Diego County had about 4.2 inches so far this month, beating the record 3.67 inches for October 1925, Mork said.
Flooding, mudflows and rockslides blocked roads in rural and mountain regions in San Diego County on Wednesday, including areas where last year's wildfires burned out vegetation.
No evacuations were ordered, but authorities warned of possible flash floods and landslides. In the city of San Diego, flooded streets tied up morning commuters and brought traffic on interstates to a crawl.