California whacked by 'Pineapple Express' storm

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — It's big, powerful and churning down the California coast.

A Pacific storm has caused widespread blackouts, destructive wind, sheets of rain and in higher elevations, lots of snow.

The brunt of the storm hit the San Francisco Bay Area, flooding freeways, toppling trees and keeping thousands of people home from work and school. The so-called "Pineapple Express" storm carried warm air and vast amounts of water in a powerful current stretching from Hawaii to the mainland and up into the mountains.

In Sonoma County, officials recommended that hundreds of people evacuate at least 300 homes in the lowest lying areas near the Russian River.

The storm is spreading into Southern California. That's prompting concern about areas that have suffered wildfires and could now be hit with mudslides.

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