Thousands Without Power, Roads Closed in California as Wet Weather Begins to Move Out of Region

Thousands of customers had no electricity Monday because of damage from 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.

Mud, snow and water also had closed several major highways.

Near San Diego, mud and minor rock slides prompted the California Highway Patrol officials to shut Route 78 through a burn area between Ramona and Escondido.

In the Sierra, a nearly 130-mile stretch of Interstate 395, from just north of Bishop to the Nevada state line, was closed because of snow, the California Department of Transportation. Interstate 80 through the Sierra between Sacramento and Reno, Nev., was reopened Monday after being shut down part of the weekend but chains were required, according to a CalTrans Web site.

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The storm produced wind approaching 40 mph during the night in the mountains east of Los Angeles, said Penny Dodge, a desk clerk at the mountain resort community Big Bear Lake. It was the worst she has seen in her seven years in the area.

"We had it all last night — the wind and the blowing," she said Monday.

Up to 3 inches of rain had fallen since Saturday along the Southern California coast, with nearly 8 inches in some remote mountain areas, the National Weather Service said Monday.

Experts said 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 rock slides 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 seven days, weather service forecaster Ryan Kitrell said. That pushed the city's seasonal total 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.

About 2,000 Los Angeles customers remained in the dark because of the stormy weather early Monday, the Department of Water and Power said. Some 700 Southern California Edison customers also had no power, mostly in mountain communities.

Farther north, about 1,600 Pacific Gas and Electric customers in the San Francisco Bay Area were still waiting for power to be restore, as were 10,000 PG&E customers from Bakersfield to the Oregon state line, utilities 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.

About 2,700 Pacific Gas and Electric customers in the Bay Area lacked power Sunday due to earlier storms, a spokesman for the utility said.

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 inspectors on a catwalk led to a steady flow of water on to the Staples Center court.

The Santa Anita race track in Arcadia canceled horse races for the sixth day this month because of wet conditions on the synthetic track.

Farther north, more than a foot of snow fell late Saturday through early Monday in parts of eastern Washington state. Classes were canceled Monday for more than 80,000 students across the state, including Spokane, and thousands more in nearby parts of Idaho and Oregon.

An estimated 4,000 utility customers in eastern Washington and northern Idaho were blacked out by the storms, but most got their lights back on by early Monday.

The weather service posted a winter storm watch saying 1 to 4 inches of snow was possible by Monday night in the Seattle area.

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 California traffic deaths were believed linked to the storm, and a man walking along a road in Washington state died after being struck by a state snowplow, authorities said.