SAN DIEGO—The first winter storm of the season slammed into Northern and Central California,prompting evacuations in burn areas, downing a major power line and dumping at least six inches of snow in the Sierra. As of Wednesday morning, the storm had not reached San Diego County.
California's electricity grid manager declared a power emergency after strong winds knocked down a high-voltage transmission line in Monterey County. The collapse of the line near Moss Landing comes as an early storm battered the state Tuesday, with heavy rains soaking areas from the coast inland and high winds felling trees.
The California Independent System Operator says without 500 kilovolt line it will be harder to get power from Southern California to Northern California. The independent operator is urging Northern Californians to conserve energy for the rest of the day.
The line went down in an area called Path 15, which serves as a major transmission link between the south and north. Officials say the power flow has been cut by a third.
The Red Cross has set up a center for people forced of their homes at the Corralitos Community Center in Watsonville. The evacuation order comes after a landslide left a man stranded in his home.
A Santa Cruz County spokesman said work crews are trying to clear a road to get to the resident. The man was not hurt in the slide. The National Weather Service says about 4.5 inches of rain fell in the Watsonville area in a 24-hour period, while six inches of rain fell on the higher elevations of the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, the National Weather Service has canceled its flash flood advisory for Los Angeles County as the rains that drenched the region overnight began easing up. The cancellation came shortly before dawn Wednesday, partly easing fears of mud- and debris-flows feared in foothill areas near the Station Fire burn area.
Those flows failed to materialize, but the morning commute remained a mess, with jackknifed big-rigs and spun-out vehicles littering freeways and travel lanes impassable because of hubcap-deep pools caused by overwhelmed storm drains.
The California Highway Patrol says there have been 186 traffic crashes in Los Angeles County during the six-hour period ending at 6 a.m. There were 19 crashes during the same period a week ago, a dry day. Six inches of snow had fallen by this afternoon at Squaw Valley USA ski resort south of Truckee, Calif., and at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe between Reno and Lake Tahoe, where up to 14 inches of snow was expected by Thursday. Sugar Bowl near Truckee, Calif., had between 3 and 6 inches.