California storms: Your stories

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A huge storm system has dumped record amounts of rain on southern California and prompted concern that the poor weather could spread across the US.

Californians have been emailing the BBC with their experiences. Here is a selection of their comments.

Your experiences

Image caption,
Forecasters warned the storm could soak California with an inch of rain per hour

We had major flooding in the lower elevation parts of San Diego. Most of the residential areas were spared, but a lot of the major shopping centres were either flooded themselves or had flooded parking lots. Amazingly, the risk of losing their vehicles under water did not deter people from trying to do their Christmas shopping. I drove past a popular shopping centre that lies in a valley (Fashion Valley) during the worst part of the storm, and got stuck in extremely heavy traffic. Everyone was trying to get in some last minute Christmas shopping. It was shocking to see that none of the people were dissuaded from shopping by the sight of parked cars completely submerged under rain water that pooled in one of the lower parking lots. Mike, San Diego, California, USA

We live in the foothills above downtown LA. The deluge has been steady for days. We've had over 12 inches of rain so far. In the area we live in, 134 homes were evacuated last night, due to fear of catch basins overflowing. Bart Stratton, La Crescenta, California

So much rain. Everything is damp in the house. We had to pump the water level down in the pool twice in two days because of the amount of rain coming down. The roof leaked in two places due to wind driving the rain up under flashing. It was scary last night hearing the ferocity of the rain on the roof; fortunately tonight it is clear, but still damp. This has helped the drought in California and of course, it makes the air so clean for a time before the southern California smog layer settles in again after a few days. Charles, Fountain Valley, California, USA

I took some photos of the Sixth Street Bridge in downtown LA [see below]. The river bed is normally empty but for a small central channel one meter wide, one meter deep. This water is deep enough to cover an automobile and is travelling about 65kph bank to bank, about 100 metres wide. Anyone falling in this water is almost certainly going to drown. It was intimidating to say the least - it sounded like a jet engine. We paid the water total respect. Kevin Break, Los Angeles, California

Image caption,
Kevin Break took this image of Sixth Street Bridge in downtown LA. He says the river bed is normally virtually empty.

Here in Bakersfield, California we have been deluged with extreme amounts of rainfall. Streets are flooded and local businesses are resorting to sandbags in order to keep dry. This is by far the worst rain we have seen in over a decade. I only hope this does not stop people from reaching their loved ones for the holidays. Matt Adams, Bakersfield California, USA

It has been crazy around here the past couple days and especially today. Bridges are closed all over and even a few highways were closed supposedly due to structural issues near Riverside. The rain has been non-stop for days and if it keeps going I think I plan to build an arc. John Marnell, Rancho Cucamonga, California

I live in La Canada Flintridge and for the past four or five days, me and my family have been urged by law enforcement officials to evacuate our homes. I was forced to put several sandbags around my house to prevent water from entering. Several areas in our community have been affected, with several streets being closed and with others being unusable due to mudslides. It has even began to rain hail. The water has been making its way into town and lots of stores have been closed because of this. Most of our neighbours have already left their homes. We're trying to hold out here in our home. But, if it continues to rain like this, then we'll be forced to evacuate. Joshua A, Los Angeles, USA

I live in the southern most city in Orange County which is on the coast. We've seen a lot of hillside slides in areas that are not normally affected. We just got our electrical power restored after 18 hours without it. The southbound coast highway is closed to traffic between Dana Point and San Clemente due to mudslides. On the upside, it looks like our drought is over. R Johnson, San Clemente, California, USA

Rains are still hitting my community hard which was unprepared for these types of rains. The good thing is that nothing serious has occurred in my county of Imperial. But I don't think the people in the neighbouring Mexicali County on the Mexican side can say that. I went there, and there are many streets full of water and small cars are unable to pass through some streets. Aaron Garcia, Calexico, California, USA