The Heat Is Online

Intense Rains Batter Southern California

Rains batter California
, March 6, 2001

A Pacific storm has blasted into California with heavy rain and high winds that toppled trees and prompted flood concerns from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Thirteen inches of torrential rain have already fallen along the foothills and mountains of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. More rain is expected to come before the snow scoots south to the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego on Tuesday.

"Southern California doesn't get this type of rain," said Todd Morris, meteorologist in charge of the Los Angeles-area weather forecast office. Morris said the Los Angeles region could get another five to 10 inches in the mountains, and two to five inches in low-lying areas on Tuesday and Wednesday. Melting snowpack can only add to the deluge.

"When the heavy rain comes to Los Angeles, we will watch carefully for widespread urban flooding," Morris said.

In San Francisco, a mother and her two children managed to escape without serious injuries, after a huge tree fell on their moving car. Falling trees also damaged cars and homes in San Jose.

The storm also is causing scattered power outages, mostly because of trees snapping power lines.

While the storm is causing trouble, it also has a positive effect in water-starved California.

"This is one of the better storms we've had recently and it still seems reasonable that we could get some good snow out of it," said Dave Pike, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

California depends on melting snow to replenish the water supply and to generate hydroelectric power during the summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.