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Northern California Wind Storm Kills 3, Leaves Thousands Without Power

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Three people were killed in Northern California as high winds battered the region, toppling trees and knocking out power to thousands of residents as rain became a problem elsewhere in California and the West.

A wind advisory remained in effect for much of the area Friday morning, with gusts up to 45 mph expected. In the Sierra, a high wind warning was in effect through early Saturday morning, with gusts up to 90 mph possible, the National Weather Service said.

The three deaths occurred Thursday. A man was killed in Oakland when a power line fell to the ground and electrocuted him, The Contra Costa Times reported. 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.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said tens of thousands of customers were without power late Thursday. There was no estimate when power would be restored.

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.

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

Trooper Loy Hixson said the Nevada Highway Patrol responded to 141 crashes between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday, including 37 with minor injuries. That's four to five times what the agency sees on a normal day.

The National Weather Service predicts rain will continue through Saturday morning. A flood watch was also in effect until then for the Phoenix area, where several miles of the Loop 303 freeway in the western suburbs were closed due to flooding. Forecasters said they expect ponding of water on local streets and in low-lying areas.

A winter weather advisory was issued for northern Arizona, where 1 to 4 inches of snow had fallen in the Flagstaff area Friday morning.

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Extreme Weather Photos 10/13/2013
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