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3 killed in Calif.; winter rolls East

AP
Firefighters from Schell Vista of Sonoma County and Santa Clara County Cal Fire prepare to put out hotspots on a fire in the hills of Soda Canyon above Napa, Calif., Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. The fire grew to over 300 acres by daybreak, fanned by high winds. (AP Photo/Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Kent Porter)

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 6:39 p.m.
 

Three people were killed by fallen debris in blustery Northern California, roads flooded in Arizona and dozens of cars became stranded in snowy rural Nevada as winter weather barreled through the West.

A wind advisory remained in effect for much of California on Friday, with gusts up to 45 mph expected and power knocked out for tens of thousands of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers. Rain was expected to continue through Saturday morning in the desert Southwest.

The three deaths happened Thursday. A man was killed in Oakland when a power line fell to the ground and electrocuted him, according to The Contra Costa Times. Another man died in Oakland less than an hour later as he tried to avoid debris in the road. Neither man has been identified.

In Yuba County, Sherri Pesich, 52, died when part of a 30-inch tree fell on a parked car in which she was sitting, Undersheriff Jerry Read said. Another woman in the car was taken to a hospital; her condition was unknown.

The rain throughout the West led to flooding in San Bernardino County, where five homeless people were trapped by water and had to be rescued from the Santa Ana River, fire officials told the San Bernardino County Sun.

One man was clinging to a tree and had to be rescued by a sheriff's helicopter. Four other people sought higher ground on an island and were rescued by crews from the Riverside Fire Department.

The Napa County Sheriff's Office ordered an unknown number of people evacuated because a fallen power line sparked a wildfire that grew to 100 and 200 acres, a dispatcher said.

Rain turned to heavy snow in higher elevations, including rural eastern Nevada's Lincoln County.

Deputies there were trying to help people when 50 of 60 cars got stranded overnight in “a long stretch of absolutely nothing,” according to dispatcher Shannon Miller.

No injuries were reported, Miller said, but U.S. 93 was closed.

Snow in higher elevations in New Mexico and Arizona, including 4 inches around Flagstaff, Ariz., made road conditions dangerous and prompted some schools to delay opening.

Authorities in Las Vegas, meanwhile, responded to hundreds of crashes as a storm dropped an inch of rain over desert dwellers.

Trooper Loy Hixson said the Nevada Highway Patrol responded to 141 collisions between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday.

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