Fierce storms batter California


A man lays sandbags in La Canada Flintridge, California (AP)

California has been pounded with snow, torrential rain and high winds leaving thousands stranded without power.

Virtually the entire state has been affected by storms that began on Friday, from far Northern California south to San Diego.

More than 12 inches of rain have fallen in parts of the Santa Monica Mountains in the south and 13 feet of snow has accumulated at Mammoth Mountain ski resort.

Central Los Angeles had received five inches of rain since Friday morning, more than a third of the average annual total.

Nearly 21,000 people were without power in Southern California due to the storm.

Unaccustomed to driving and dressing for so much rain, Southern California residents tried to go about their business – creeping along on the roads and doing last minute Christmas shopping.

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