The Latest: Western US hit with blast of winter-like weather

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2015 12:51 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest on the blast of winter-like weather moving across the western U.S. (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

A cold front that whipped up a damaging tornado in a Central California town has moved south, buffeting the Los Angeles area with gusts topping 60 mph.

The powerful winds knocked down tree branches and caused scattered power outages on Monday across Southern California.

National Weather Service forecaster Kathy Hoxsie says windy conditions will persist for much of the day. The system could bring snow and ice to elevations as low as 3,000 feet. Drivers in mountain areas are urged to use caution.

The tornado touched down Sunday in the town of Denair near Modesto, tearing roofing and walls from homes, and knocking down trees and power lines. There were no reports of injuries.

Hail and thunderstorms were reported in parts of Northern California and in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

7:20 a.m.

A winter storm is forecast to bring heavy snow and strong winds to much of eastern Colorado, including the Denver area and northern El Paso County.

Blizzard conditions are forecast to develop Monday night and last into Tuesday afternoon, when the storm is expected to move into western Kansas.

The National Weather Service says between 8 and 18 inches of snow are possible, with the heaviest snow falling south of Interstate 76. The worst conditions are expected to be in the south and eastern parts of the Denver area and on the Eastern Plains.

The snow should be lighter near the Wyoming border but the wind combined with that snowfall is still expected to make travel difficult there.

6:25 a.m.

Significant accumulation of snow and dangerous driving conditions are expected in mountain areas of in northern New Mexico.

A winter storm warning is in effect through 6 a.m. Tuesday in the far northwest highlands as well as the San Juan Mountains, the Jemez Mountains and parts of the Sangre de Christo Mountains.

The National Weather Service warns of winds gusting to around 40 mph and up to 50 mph over ridgetops.

Forecasters say travelers will face greatly reduced visibility from snow and blowing snow in some areas of northern New Mexico.

Snow levels initially will be between 7,500 and 8,500 feet Monday morning but dropping by late morning and mid-afternoon.

6:15 a.m. Snow and ice is slowing traffic on highways in parts of northern Arizona.

The state Department of Transportation reports slow movement in the Flagstaff area on Interstates 17 and 40. The Prescott also is getting snow.

Officials recommend travelers allot additional time for travel due to the weather conditions.

A winter weather advisory will remain in effect until late Monday for areas above 6,000 feet, including Flagstaff and Jacob Lake north of the Grand Canyon.

Snow accumulations are expected to range from 1 to 2 inches at elevations around 6,500 feet and 2 to 4 inches above 6,500 feet, including Flagstaff.

Higher amounts are expected on mountain peaks and parts of the eastern Mogollon Rim.

6 a.m. Authorities say nine people and a dog were rescued in two incidents during windy and high-surf conditions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Marin County Fire Department Battalion Chief Bret McTigue says four kayakers and a dog were dumped into the water from 4-foot waves off Sacramento Landing Sunday morning.

The fire department and the National Park Service sent boats to retrieve the victims. They were treated for hypothermia and released.

Meanwhile, a 14-foot aluminum boat capsized nearby with five people aboard. Authorities found the victims with the help of a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew. They were not seriously injured.