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Extreme storms move into plains

Thousands lose power; flooding and slippery conditions blamed on a dozen deaths

January 7, 2008

Thousands of California residents remained without power Monday morning after a series of storms barreled across the state Saturday and Sunday, killing at least 12 and forcing the evacuation of many more.

The storms produced as much as 11-feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, wind gusts topping 100-miles per hour and heavy rain. The National Weather Service issued flood watches for parts of Southern California. High winds were reported to have blown down nearly 500 miles of power lines.

A tour bus slid off a highway in southeastern Utah Monday morning, killing at least seven of its 51 passengers.

It was not clear Sunday night if the heavy rains had contributed to a canal's levee break in western Nevada that forced hundreds of people from their homes. Officials in Fernley said the canal was not full.

Flash flood warnings had been posted across a large portion of California. Residents in many areas where streams have a history of flooding during heavy rains, piled sandbags and bales of straw in front of doorways in an attempt to protect their homes.

Meanwhile, further east, two people were killed and more than 30 people were injured in automobile accidents on foggy Wisconsin roadways. And weather forecasters were predicting the possibility of severe weather in the nation's mid-section Monday afternoon.

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