West Coast Storm Pounds California, Leaving Thousands Without Power And Two Dead

The powerful storm that caused widespread blackouts in Northern California has moved to the Los Angeles area, causing further losses of power. Two people have already been been killed by the storm in Oregon, reported by Fox News to be a homeless man and young teenage boy.

National Weather Service meteorologist, Will Pi, said “it’s a big storm, as we expected, and it’s headed south with very powerful winds and heavy rainfall.”

BBC News reports that more than more than 220,000 people have been left without power after the storm’s high winds and heavy rains slammed California. And it may get even worse as the storm is expected to pick up speed as it moves further South.

In the San Francisco Bay area, freeways are flooded, trees felled, and many schools and businesses closed after being battered by the storm. At a Santa Cruz elementary school, the storm uprooted an 80 foot tree, pinning down a sixth-grader by the arm before Santa Cruz firefighters used chainsaws to cut him free.

“He’s fine. He’s at the hospital,” Helvie said of the student just after the incident. “He’s conscious and talking, his mother is with him. We expect him to be fine.”

An 11-year old girl was also hit by fallen branches, but is reported to be fine after being treated for minor injuries. And in San Jose, one person suffered injuries after the roof of a grocery store collapsed, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s a two-pronged punch – it’s wind and rain,” National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson said.

“Once the ground gets saturated and the winds are howling, there’s a bigger chance of trees going down on power lines.”

Although the rain has been much needed in the drought-hit state, mudslides are a big concern, along with further risk of structural damage and injury.

There have been multiple accidents on flooded roads caused by the water and trees that have fallen onto cars. In Marin County, heavy rains washed out a portion of state Route 1, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Despite the chaos, BBC News reports that surfers are welcoming the storm amid forecasts of waves reaching as high as 15 feet. Ski resorts in the northern Sierra Nevada were also hoping to benefit from the storm, with more than two feet of snow forecast.

Many schools and colleges affected by the storm will remain closed until further notice.

[IMAGE: ALEX WASHBURN/ASSOCIATED PRESS]