LOS ANGELES: A Pacific storm pounded Southern California with heavy rain and high winds on Friday,triggering flash floods, a small tornado and mudslides that prompted the evacuation of hundreds of homes, damaged dozens of others and disrupted passenger rail service along the coast.
One person was found dead on Friday in a rain-swollen flood-control channel in the Orange County town of Garden Grove,which could mark the third storm-related fatality on the West Coast since Thursday.Separately, rescue teams saved two people after they were swept away in the fast-moving Los Angeles River near a homeless encampment, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in Twitter messages.
High winds tore down power lines throughout the region,leaving as many as 78,000 customers without electricity at one point after the storm moved in before dawn, utility officials reported.
In an unusual phenomenon for Southern California, a small tornado touched down in South Los Angeles, where it damaged the roofs of an apartment complex and two houses and ripped up a bill board, said National Weather Service weather specialist Stuart Seto. The twister was an EF0, the smallest category possible, and no one was hurt, he said.A water spout was sighted over the ocean near Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, and another one formed 35 miles to the southeast off Newport Beach.
The severe weather, which included thunderstorms, was spawned by a storm system dubbed a “pineapple express,” a large low-pressure area that siphoned vast amounts of moisture from the tropical Pacific near the Hawaiian islands and dumped it on the West Coast as it moved over land, said Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Kattell. The same storm pummeled the Pacific Northwest and the northern half of California on Thursday with torrential downpours and gale-force gusts that caused widespread power outages and disrupted commercial flights in San Francisco.