Huge storm hits West Coast

West Coast residents from B.C.'s southern mainland to San Diego have been hit with high winds and heavy rain while those in higher elevations are coping with blizzard conditions.

A winter storm battered the West Coast from British Columbia to southern California on Saturday, causing power outages and making driving treacherous in some areas.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians were without power as the state battled driving rain, powerful winds and heavy snow.

Forecasters predicted the storm could dump as much as three metres of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains by Sunday.

Strong winds overnight kept BC Hydro crews busy. There were still a few thousand customers without power on Vancouver Island and the B.C. North Shore and in the Fraser Valley by Saturday morning.

BC Ferries were reporting two delays due to the inclement weather. The Quadra Island to Cortes Island and the Chemainus to Thetis routes were delayed due to high winds.

Vancouver's Stanley Park remained closed over concerns about falling branches.

The storm was weakening in British Columbia as it moved inland toward the mountains. Winds of between 50 and 70 km/h were expected throughout the day along the Sunshine Coast and the western coast of Vancouver Island.

South of the border, about 600,000 people from the San Francisco Bay Area eastward to the Central Valley remained without power for a second day after winds gusting to 130 kilometres an hour toppled power lines.

In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, about 1,000 homes were ordered evacuated Friday evening in advance of possible mudslides after the region was hit with high winds, rain and heavy snow.

The evacuation orders affect about 3,000 people in four mudslide-prone canyons scorched by wildfires last fall.

Many parts of Southern California were under flash flood warnings, and in San Francisco, high winds were keeping trucks off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Heavy rains in Nevada were blamed for a canal breach in the town of Fernley, where about 800 homes were reported flooding.