The slow-moving storm pounding California with ice and snow has claimed at least two lives, officials said.
In the early morning hours Thursday, Millbrae residents reported that standing water had accumulated under a rail overpass near the intersection of Hemlock Avenue and Hillcrest Boulevard.
Det. Javier Acosta with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said two cars were trapped in the water, which he estimated to be at least 10 feet deep.
It took officials several hours to drain the water, he said, at which point two bodies were found in one of the vehicles.
“There was a heavy downpour,” Acosta said. “The fire department said the water was rising so fast it became dangerous even for them.”
Central County Fire Department officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The National Weather Service in the Bay Area had issued a flood advisory warning residents of the potential for water on roadways and flooding in low-lying areas.
The advisory expired Thursday afternoon, but officials said rain showers would continue over the South Bay, East Bay and Central Coast through the day.
The news out of Millbrae arrives as the storm makes its entrance in Southern California, where officials are advising residents of the potential for flash floods and debris flow.
Orange County authorities issued a voluntary evacuation warning for residents near the Bond fire burn zone, which will remain in effect through noon Friday. Flood watches are also in effect for portions of San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties through Friday morning.
The alerts also came roughly a week after another major storm swept through the area and sucked vehicles into the Los Angeles River, downed trees and prompted rescues of residents trapped by mudflows in Silverado Canyon.
One man had to be rescued from the L.A. River in Sylmar after he was swept into its flow and carried about half a mile.
Officials said burn areas near the Bond and El Dorado fires are particularly vulnerable to the incoming system.
Other hazards tied to the storm include wet roads and the potential for snow and ice in mountain areas, officials said. Residents are advised to be cautious while driving on slick or icy roads.
The victims in Millbrae were described only as adults. Acosta said he could not provide further details because their families have not yet been notified.