California in state of emergency as winter storms pummel southern counties
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California in state of emergency as winter storms pummel southern counties

A so-called atmospheric river effect is behind the severe weather.

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A state of emergency has been declared in eight counties in southern California as a series of winter storms barrage the region.

Major flooding, mudslides and power cuts have been reported across the state, and three people have died.

Residents have been advised to avoid non-essential travel, brace for power outages and prepare for high winds.

A so-called atmospheric-river effect is behind the severe weather, with vast clouds of water vapour sucked in from the Pacific Ocean, depositing huge rainfall on the state.

The state of emergency covers counties including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

There have been reports of mudslides in the Los Angeles area, as well as damage in the exclusive Bel Air and Beverly Hills neighbourhoods.

The Hollywood Hills area has experienced severe mudslides, while in Long Beach, 19 people were rescued from a stranded 40 ft boat after the mast broke in high winds.

According to the National Weather Service, more than 10 inches of rain have fallen in the Los Angeles area since Sunday, and there is “plenty more to come”.

“The atmospheric river event will continue to produce dangerous flooding rain, strong winds, high surf and heavy snow across much of central and southern California over the next few days,” the National Weather Service said.

“Showers and thunderstorms, some severe, will impact the Southeast and Florida.”

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