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MONSTER STORM FLOODS LOS ANGELES...

MONSTER STORM FLOODS LOS ANGELES...

LA TIMES --

A storm that forecasters billed as the most powerful in years barreled into Southern California on Friday, flooding multiple freeways, triggering dramatic mudslides and downing hundreds of trees and power lines.

The storm arrived with wind gusts that topped 80 mph in some parts of Los Angeles County and intense bursts of heavy rain, a potent combination that at one point Friday evening had more than half a dozen major freeways and highways around the region closed.

The deluge created surreal scenes: Cars trapped by rising waters along the 5 and 110 freeways, churning mudflows ripping through canyon and high-desert roads, and a massive landslide in the San Bernardino Mountains captured on video. A lane on Interstate 15 failed at the Cajon Pass, leaving a fire engine dangling over the side of the road. Officials said all firefighters got out safe but that the engine eventually went over the side.

To the north in Santa Barbara County, communities were battered by up to an inch of rain an hour, turning the Santa Barbara Airport into a lake with small aircraft playing the role of boats. The airport set a daily rainfall record with 3.75 inches, one of several records established Friday. 

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