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Big storm moves into S. Calif.; snow closes I-5

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[February 16, 2009]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A winter storm that could be the largest of the season is bringing heavy rain and mountain snow to Southern California.

The National Weather Service says the rain should last much of the day, and wind with gusts of up to 45 miles per hour is causing dangerous surf conditions off the coast.

The California Highway Patrol says heavy snow has closed a section of Interstate 5 in the mountains north of Los Angeles.

Meteorologist David Gomberg calls it the "most significant storm so far this season." There could even be waterspouts or small tornadoes, he says.

The rains bring renewed fears of mudslides in areas ravaged by wildfires last year. The city of Sierra Madre has warned residents they may need to leave their homes.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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