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CA buffeted by storm


California's worst storm in three years tapered off Friday afternoon after pummeling the state with rain, snow, and wind.

The storm dropped more than nine inches of rain in Santa Barbara County,

and dangerous waves continued to beat the coastline on Friday. By late

Friday, a 20-foot surf could gnaw at sandbag barricades in Santa

Barbara and Ventura counties.

More than 1,000 sandbags were piled in the community of Thousand Oaks,

where a 6,000-acre fire last month denuded hillsides.

Fire broke out in the upper floors of the Los Angeles Metropolitan

Transportation Authority's high-rise headquarters on Friday morning.

Employees had to be evacuated and the fire was extinguished.

The state did manage to stave off rolling blackouts by making last-

minute deals with energy suppliers.

The storm also pushed into Arizona, dropping rain and snow are areas not

used to such weather. "It's raining fairly heavily here, and we don't

get much rain in Phoenix," said Dick Eskes, a disaster resource

consultant with Church World Service.

Los Angeles has been experiencing dangerous commute conditions as a

result of the storms. "We received calls about wires down, flooded

streets, accidents, downed trees, people trapped in their cars in

intersections, and flooding in underground parking areas," said Jim

Wells, Los Angeles City Fire Department spokesman.

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