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Winter storm brings outages, shuts 5 Freeway, leaves at least 1 dead

A large tree was toppled by strong winds on Temple Street, just missing several parked cars, following a rainstorm with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. In the San Diego area, a motorist was fatally struck by a tree that was knocked down by powerful winds as a winter storm moves across California, bringing downpours, wind and snow, authorities said. Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops across Southern California.
A large tree was toppled by strong winds on Temple Street, just missing several parked cars, following a rainstorm with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. In the San Diego area, a motorist was fatally struck by a tree that was knocked down by powerful winds as a winter storm moves across California, bringing downpours, wind and snow, authorities said. Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops across Southern California.
Ian Feiner/AP
A large tree was toppled by strong winds on Temple Street, just missing several parked cars, following a rainstorm with the downtown Los Angeles skyline in the background Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. In the San Diego area, a motorist was fatally struck by a tree that was knocked down by powerful winds as a winter storm moves across California, bringing downpours, wind and snow, authorities said. Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops across Southern California.
Fierce winds trailing a daylong storm churn the Pacific Ocean off the Los Angeles community of Playa del Rey on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. Strong winds downed dozens of trees and power poles and ripped off rooftops across Southern California. The storm also churned up high surf along west and northwest-facing beaches.
John Antczak/AP


Update 3:17 p.m. Over 60,000 remain without power following winter storms

Over 60,000 customers remained without power between Southern California Edison and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers as of Monday afternoon, according to the companies. Southern California Edison staff were still working Monday afternoon to restore power to about 28,500 customers affected by the rainy, windy weather, according to a spokesperson contacted by KPCC.

Meanwhile, there were 32,885 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers without power as of a 1:30 p.m. update, with their crews seeking to restore power to those households. LADWP crews have restore power to nearly 66,000 customers already.

"Rain and wind caused severely dried out palm fronds, tree branches and other debris to fall on power lines," according to an LADWP press release.

The area that still had the most people without power under LADWP's umbrella was the one LADWP defines as "Historic South-Central," with 5,814 outages. SoCal Edison said in a press release that most of their outages were in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

"Due to the severity of the storms, estimated restoration times are not currently available," SoCal Edison said in their release.

— KPCC staff

Update 10:45 a.m. Power restored to more than 52,000 customers

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said it has restored service to more than 52,000 customers who lost power due to the storm. 

Sunday’s rain and wind knocked down power lines that resulted in multiple outages. According to the agency, about 23,000 customers are still without power, with more than 2,000 in the Mid-Wilshire and Mid-City areas still experiencing outages. 

10:01 a.m. Winter storm leaves at least 1 dead

A powerful winter storm brought heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday, sending trees and power lines onto flooded roadways, knocking out electricity for thousands, shutting the 5 Freeway and leaving at least one dead in San Diego.

Sunday's storm dumped up to three inches of rain on some parts of Los Angeles, soaking streets and rapidly filling the channel.

Rising water from the L.A. River stranded a man standing on an embankment near the 4th Street Bridge on Sunday.

Brian Humphrey with the L.A. Fire Department said a swift-water rescue team cut open a fence and pulled the man to safety.

"L.A. firefighters also removed the man's bicycle from the river so he wouldn't attempt to go back in and retrieve it. We're pleased to report the man was uninjured — he's being interviewed by L.A. police officers to find out why he was in or near the river," Humphrey said.

In Pacific Beach, a man was killed when a tree fell across four lanes of traffic and crashed onto his car.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people were still without power across Southern California. At 9 p.m., more than 70,000 SoCal Edison customers were in the dark. Edison officials said they saw so many outages, the outage map on their website actually crashed, and it was still down Monday morning. 

The L.A. Department of Water and Power was working on getting power to about 12,000 Angelenos. Workers restored power to about 4,000 people overnight.

Part of Interstate 5 near Gorman was shut down completely Monday morning. Northbound lanes were closed at Parker Road and southbound lanes were closed at Grapevine Road.

Traffic was barely moving, though the California Highway Patrol reported that groups of drivers on the northbound side were being escorted.

Between the rain and the wind, the 5 Freeway has been covered in ice, according to CHP Sgt. Justin Olsen.

The National Weather Service has placed a winter storm warning on the Grapevine until noon.

Snow levels dropped to 5,500 feet Sunday night. Spots above 7,000 feet will likely get at least a foot or two of snow. All schools in the Bear Valley, Mountain Empire and Rim of the World school districts will be closed Monday due to the snow.

Such storms will be a regular feature over the next few months, and L.A. drivers should be prepared, according to Patrick Chandler with Caltrans.

"Really in some places alongside of our roads we're trying to hold up the entire mountain or hillside — there's only so much we can do," Chandler said.

Mudflows near the Solimar burn area shut down part of the 101 for a couple of hours Sunday morning. Flash flooding was reported in parts of Glendora, Pasadena, Simi Valley and on the Angeles Crest Highway between Mount Wilson and Mount Waterman.

 
El Niño in Glendora area

SoCal experienced steady rains on Sunday. This video, courtesy of Kathy Rydnyk, shows the muddy conditions Glendora residents were hit with. How have you prepared for El Niño this year?

Posted by Take Two on Monday, February 1, 2016

More than 3.7 inches of rain fell on the mountains above Azusa. Mount Wilson got a little more than 4 inches of rain.

The storm has also brought dangerous surf. Rough waters on Sunday night shut down the piers at Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, and the worst may be yet to come. On Monday, beaches could get slammed with surf up to 13 feet high.

A high surf advisory will be in effect for L.A. County until early Tuesday morning.

Carol Baker with the L.A. Department of Beaches and Harbors said she anticipated minor flooding from El Niño, but that the pounding surf and subsequent beach erosion was surprising.

"A number of our beaches will naturally rebuild over time — but then others have eroded over time, so they've become more narrow. And to take a severe hit? It's very difficult at this point to see how far they'll bounce back," Baker said.

Last month was especially hard on the Southern and Central coast. There were nearly two weeks of high surf advisories in L.A.

This story has been updated.