A powerful storm battered California with rain and snow on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and two others missing after being swept away by flooding in a canal, while a tornado touched down in Sacramento County.
The National Weather Service said the tornado touched down a few miles outside the city of Galt at 1:40 p.m. NBC affiliate KCRA in Sacramento reported that a tin roof on a shed had blown off, cutting utility lines. No other damage was reported.
The stormy weather raised concerns it could dissuade people from voting on Election Day, with flash flood warnings in some areas.
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In Southern California, a current in a canal in the city of Ontario has wiped out six people, killing one, the Ontario Fire Department said. Three others were rescued by firefighters and treated at a nearby hospital. Crews continued to search for two others amid the downpour.
Heavy rain drenched Orange County, where several very close-knit US House races could determine which party controls Congress. The Orange County Republican Party urged members to vote early and avoid getting stuck in the rain on Election Day.
“The lines for Election Day are long, usually one to two hours long. Don’t risk getting caught in the rain casting your vote,” said an email sent by the party Monday.
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The storm, which arrived Monday and was expected to continue through Wednesday, prompted evacuation orders in parts of Southern California, including the Bond Fire burn area of the Santa Ana Mountains.
In Northern California, meteorologists warned that the heavy rain could lead to debris flows and flash flooding in the burns from the Colorado wildfires and the river.
Between 1 and 3 inches of rain is expected in the Los Angeles coast and valleys through Wednesday. The foothills and mountains could see up to 5 inches.
Meanwhile, in the mountains, peaks above 6,000 feet can receive 6 to 12 inches of snowfall, with 20 inches possibly local.
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The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning on Tuesday for the greater Lake Tahoe area as heavy snow fell in the region, causing backups on major highways in the area. The agency warned that driving in the region would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
“Be prepared for white-out conditions and freezing chills along ridges and near mountain passes,” the agency said in its warning, adding that the dangerous conditions will affect motorists during peak hours.