Las Vegas: The Western US was drenched by a powerful storm system that hit several states and led to at least four deaths.
The fierce weather resulted in flooding and water rescues in California, stranded dozens of drivers in Nevada, caused hundreds of crashes among desert dwellers in Arizona and brought snow to northern New Mexico.
The system was expected to head east and reach the Atlantic coast by the middle of next week, but not before hitting the Southwest again with rain, snow and wind, forecasters said.
In California, the storms were linked to three deaths. In Oakland, one person was found dead near downed power lines and another crashed his vehicle into a tree while apparently trying to avoid debris in the road, news reports and officials said. Also, a 52-year-old woman died in Yuba County, north of Sacramento, when a tree fell on the parked car in which she was sitting.
In Southern California, a homeless man had to be rescued from a tree by helicopter and four other people were plucked from an island after becoming trapped in the swollen Santa Ana River in San Bernardino County.
In Nevada, snow in higher elevations in rural, eastern Lincoln County stranded 50 to 60 cars early yesterday, dispatcher Shannon Miller said. No injuries were reported, but US 93 was closed south of Ely.
Sheriff`s dispatch said early today that the roadway had been reopened, but the office did not have any information on the stranded cars.
In Arizona, firefighters in Tucson yesterday recovered the body of a man who was swept away by high water in the Santa Cruz River. Meanwhile, authorities across the state responded to hundreds of vehicle crashes as the storm dropped rain on typically dry roads.
A flood watch was in effect until early today in the Phoenix area, where several miles of the Loop 303 freeway in the western suburbs were closed due to flooding. The weather service said rain totals through today morning could exceed 2 inches (5 centimetres) in the Phoenix area.