Huge storm continues to roll through California after claiming two lives

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Intense rains and heavy snows were expected to lash California on Saturday after claiming at least two lives and causing flooding, mudslides and power outages, officials said.

Forecasters warned that rain totals could reach 10 inches (25 cm) in parts of southern California and 2 feet (60 cm) of snow in higher areas to the east as the massive storm continues to roll through the region, the National Weather Service said.

The storm was bringing California's heaviest rainfall in six years, after months of wet weather that has dramatically eased the state's years-long drought. The heavy rain and melting snowpack threatened to undermine a spillway at one of the largest dams in the country, which prompted the evacuation of 188,000 residents earlier this week.

Utility crews worked throughout the night to restore service to more than 78,000 electric customers affected by power outages throughout the Los Angeles area.

Early on Saturday, an evacuation order remained in effect for 180 homes in the city of Duarte, about 20 miles (32 km) east of Los Angeles, given the potential for mudslides.

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The storm claimed the life of a man who was electrocuted by a downed wire, the Los Angeles Fire Department said, adding that it responded to 150 reports of downed wires on Friday.

Another person was found dead in a submerged vehicle in Victorville, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, fire officials said on Twitter.

A woman was injured when the car she was in fell into a sinkhole in Studio City on Friday night. Soon after crews rescued the woman, a second car fell into the 20-foot sinkhole, an ABC affiliate reported.

Local television news also showed dramatic video footage of a San Bernardino County fire truck tumbling over the side of a freeway as the road gave out.

"All firefighters confirmed safe. The lane under the fire engine has failed, and the engine has gone over the side," the San Bernardino County Fire Department said on Twitter.

In higher areas of eastern California and western Nevada, snowfall and wind gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph) were in the forecast until Saturday night, the National Weather Service said.

"This will make travel hazardous or impossible," the service said in an advisory. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, editing by Ed Osmond)