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- A powerful Pacific storm blew into southern and central California on Friday, unleashing wind-driven heavy rains that forecasters said could become the strongest in years if not decades.

An evacuation center for Duarte residents has been set up at the City Hall Community Center at 1600 Huntington Drive.

Los Angeles County Public Works crews, meanwhile, worked frantically to clear debris from catch basins and storm drains in hopes of preventing flooding. "An extended period of high surf is expected Thursday through Sunday, with the highest surf and greatest threat of beach erosion over the weekend". A high surf advisory will be in effect until 7 a.m. Sunday, said the NWS, warning of surf of 8 to 13 feet on Saturday before it diminishes that night.

"Large waves and strong rip currents will increase the risk of ocean drowning for swimmers and surfers", according to the NWS statement.

The area has already received more than twice as much rain this season as it did last season, county records shows, with almost 19 inches compared with 8 inches that fell a year ago. A winter storm warning will be in force in the San Gabriel mountains from Friday morning through Saturday morning.

In the mountains, between 1 and 2 feet of snow are possible above 8,000 feet and between 6 and 12 inches above 6,000 feet, the NWS said.

"Two day rainfall totals will likely be substantial, along with very strong winds making for hazardous travel conditions and possible tree damage", according to the NWS.

The Orange County Sanitation District, asked residents to reduce water usage during the rain because, along with the stormwater, it can tax its system and "cause potential problems in the sewer lines and at the treatment facilities".

The storm, which combines an unusually intense low pressure area with a firehose of moisture whose hose stretches back for more than 2,000 miles, way out to near Hawaii, will rage throughout the day on Friday and into Saturday in one of the most populated and storm-averse areas of the country. More rain is expected Tuesday.

Jon Erdman, a meteorologist with the Weather Channel, told the weather news network that the storm will not only bring heavy rainfall, but also damaging wind gusts and snowfall in areas of higher elevation.

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