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March 1, 2014

California storm not a drought buster

(Continued)

LOS ANGELES —

The storm did more than force Californians to reacquaint themselves with their rain gear.

Numerous traffic accidents occurred on slick or flooded roads across California, including one about 60 miles east of Los Angeles involving a big rig whose driver died after falling from a freeway overpass.

Two men and their dogs were rescued from the swift waters of the Los Angeles River. A few miles downriver, another man was pulled out and carried to safety. Hundreds of miles north in San Jose, firefighters also pulled a man from swollen Coyote Creek near a homeless encampment.

Power outages hit about 32,000 customers, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison said.

The storm was good news for other Californians who didn’t have to worry about mudslides.

Kite-surfer Chris Strong braved pelting rain to take advantage of strong winds that gave him about an hour of fun over the pounding surf in the Sunset Beach enclave of Huntington Beach.

“I don’t get to kite here in these conditions very often — only a handful of times — but you put them in the memory bank,” he said.

Surf schools in San Diego cancelled lessons, and asked their customers to be patient.

“It’s unruly out there now but when the storm settles and it cleans up, there will be the best waves in the next few days,” said Rick Gehris of Surfari Surf School.

Storms this winter mostly began in the Pacific Northwest and followed a U-shaped path across the country. This latest storm originated farther south and is “taking a beeline across the middle of the country,” said warning meteorologist Greg Carbin at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

“It’s a different than other storms we’ve seen so far, but this is nothing all that unusual,” he said.

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