Mother Nature Gives It Her All During A Wild Day In Southern California

Tuesday, March 27th 2007, 8:02 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Volatile weather swept through Southern California on Tuesday, delivering downpours, hail, snow, and fierce winds that capsized boats and toppled power lines and trees. More than 70,000 customers lost power.

The roof was torn off the Orange County Fire Authority's aviation building, and harbor patrol officers made rescues in Newport Bay and offshore.

Winds gusting to 40 mph capsized a small powerboat and three outriggers, said Orange County sheriff's Sgt. David Ginther. Members of the Newport Beach Harbor Patrol rescued a man whose 11-foot boat capsized.

In Newport Bay, 24 members of a University of California, Irvine, rowing crew were thrown into the water when their boats flipped. Some students swam ashore, and others were rescued, Ginther said.

A large section of roof laminate and asphalt tile landed on four cars and caused minor damage but no injuries, said fire Capt. Stephen J. Miller. Fire crews were responding to numerous reports of downed trees and power lines, he said.

``It was pretty crazy out there,'' Miller said. ``I was driving on the freeway and saw many dust storms.''

Snow also fell across a swath of mountains and desert.

The day dawned clear and breezy, but fast-moving clouds blotted out the sun at times as downpours pelted parts of greater Los Angeles, then rapidly cleared again.

Strong winds accompanied by sporadic showers and hail were driven by a cold front that moved in from the north, said National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt.

About 53,000 Southern California Edison customers were without power at mid-afternoon, the utility said. Another 20,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers also lacked power, said spokeswoman Kim Hughes.