Strongest storm in years to drench Southern California

Airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other parts of California had dozens of canceled or delayed flights on Friday, according to tracking website FlightAware.com.

"The afternoon commute is going to be a mess", an Oxnard National Weather Service meteorologist, Kathy Hoxsie, said via the Los Times.

The city of Duarte, located near the San Gabriel Mountains east of Los Angeles, ordered 180 homes to evacuate today ahead of the storm, and voluntary evacuation orders were issued for Camarillo Springs, reported the Weather Channel.

Strong winds capable of taking down trees and power lines are also expected, along with heavy snow in Southern California's mountains.

Total rainfall predictions ranged from 2 inches to 6 inches on the coast and from 5 inches to 10 inches in foothills and coastal mountain.

Santa Barbara and Ventura counties could be hit hardest by the storm, according to forecasters.

Authorities have warned residents of an area west of Santa Barbara, California, where another wildfire ravaged vegetation past year, to prepare to leave their homes quickly if ordered to evacuate because of the storm, according to a message on the Facebook page of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

The National Weather Service has issued a dizzying array of watches and warnings to cover all the storm impacts, which can be found on weather.gov.

Pasadena cancelled Saturday's annual Black History Month parade, citing public safety concerns including possible lightning strikes.

In Northern California, officials monitoring the stricken Oroville Dam on the Feather River said Thursday that they were confident the reservoir would handle any runoff from expected storms because ongoing releases have been lowering the lake's level since its spillways were damaged last week.

"Strong southerly winds combined with ample moisture will lead to periods of very heavy rain, with rain rates at times of around 1 inch per hour", an NWS statement said, adding that the rain would taper off Saturday morning, causing the threat of flash flooding to disappear around noon, although scattered showers are possible through Saturday evening. A year ago, just 5 percent of the state was out of drought. Runoff from the snowpack normally supplies about a third of the state's water. The latter category was confined to a sliver of territory northwest of Los Angeles.

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