California, Southwest Face More than Flooding Today

December 22, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
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While flooding remains the first and foremost concern with the final storm in the series to pummel California and the Southwest, strong thunderstorms pose additional threats today.

As if Californians and Southwest residents haven't had enough to deal with, locally damaging winds, hail, and perhaps even a handful of waterspouts and tornadoes are all possibilities with today's thunderstorms.

Gusty winds reportedly toppled a 75-foot tree onto a house in Whittier, Calif., around midnight, according to KABC-TV. Trees have also been downed in Newport Beach and Claremont, Calif.

The most common impact, however, with today's thunderstorms will be torrential downpours that exacerbate flooding problems, which have already been a huge issue for the region over the last few days.

The thunderstorm threat will be greatest early today in Southern California before shifting farther east into western Arizona later this afternoon and evening. Portions of interstates 10 and 40 could be affected.

This AP photo taken by Mike Meadows shows lightning from a fast-moving thunderstorm in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles during the early morning Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006. Dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning like this could strike parts of the Southwest today. If you have any pictures that capture this monstrous series of storms that has been pummeling the region, feel free to post them on our AccuWeather.com Facebook page.

"Epic" is the word AccuWeather.com Western Expert Ken Clark has used to described the series of storms that has been hammering California and the Southwest with feet of rain, and even more feet of snow, since Friday.

The nasty weather will finally clear out west to east tonight into early Thursday, giving the region a couple of days to recover before Christmas. However, the dry break may be a short one for many, with more rain possibly on the way.

Another storm is expected to plow into California over the holiday weekend, bringing rain to northern and central California as early as Christmas Day.

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