Powerful Storms Jolt California
The Associated Press, Nov. 10, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO -- A trio of powerful storms that trundled through California
tapered off Saturday evening, leaving behind extensive damage and sweeping two
people out to sea.
About 22,700 utility customers remained without power Saturday evening. Since the storms hit Wednesday night, nearly 1.6 million customers lost power, the companies said.
Clean-up crews in the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Sonora spent Saturday slogging through a muddy flash flood that rushed though city streets overnight. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard has called off searches for two people swept out to sea by giant waves -- a 4-year-old boy who lived north of Eureka and a 26-year-old man who was walking Friday afternoon on a beach near Santa Cruz.
"The chances of survival were pretty much nil," said Coast Guard Petty Office Carl Hausner of the Santa Cruz incident. Buoys in the area showed swells between 20 and 25 feet.
The California Highway Patrol closed U.S. 50 for three hours Friday night after a large tree fell across the trans-Sierra highway, killing two in a vehicle at Echo Summit, said Laurie Finch, highway patrol dispatcher.
The storms, which dumped nearly 2 inches of rain on San Francisco and up to 8 inches in coastal mountains south of the city, were dwindling Saturday and only scattered showers were expected overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
Mount Wilson got 3.38 inches, the nation's highest rainfall Saturday.
As the Pacific-fueled storm moved into western Colorado on Saturday, snow, wind and ice touched off dozens of traffic accidents on Interstate 70. No serious injures were reported.
Colorado State Patrol trooper Rob Marone said more than 60 accidents were reported along I-70 in the central mountains, where wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour were reported.
"There's blowing snow. There are blizzard-like conditions and it's real icy," Marone said.
The storms did have an upside: The only two Lake Tahoe ski resorts open so far -- Boreal atop Donner Summit and Mt. Rose above Reno -- offered top-to-bottom skiing Saturday for the first time this season.
"It's dumping right now. It's awesome," Boreal spokeswoman Jody Churich said.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press