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Storm Swamps Southern California Electricity Knocked Out, Roads Closed, Homes Flooded

After presenting a vivid, blue-sky New Year’s Day to the world via television, Southern California got its weather comeuppance Wednesday as the second day of an Alaskan storm knocked out power in several communities, flooded a hospital, forced an early end to activities at two universities and wreaked havoc with traffic.

Despite the sudden deluge - which brought up to 2 inches of rain - no fatalities or catastrophic traffic accidents had been reported by early Wednesday night. And the hillsides from Malibu to Altadena to Laguna Beach which were denuded in 1993 firestorms showed surprising resistance to mudslides.

In Los Angeles, some 22,000 Department of Water and Power customers were left without electricity as the storm knocked out power lines. Snow and rains forced road closures from Interstate 5 to the Angeles Crest Highway in the mountains to roads along the coast.

Torrance Memorial Hospital wheeled five critical patients away from water that apparently seeped through second-floor windows.

In the Harbor City area, an open storm drain overflowed, flooding about a dozen homes and submerging about 45 vehicles in and around an intersection.

The National Weather Service said that by 4 p.m., 2.03 inches of rain had fallen at the Los Angeles Civic Center. That raised the total from the two-day storm to 2.48 inches and the total for the season, which runs from July 1 to June 30, to 4.63 inches. The normal season’s total to date is 5.24 inches.

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