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More than 176,000 customers without power as storm hits West Coast

Photography by Keith Getter (all rights reserved)/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — A major storm is hitting the West Coast Wednesday into Thursday with flood, high wind and heavy snow alerts in effect for California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and Washington state.

More than 176,000 customers are without power in California.

A winter storm warning is in place for the mountains outside of Los Angeles, where up to a foot of snow is possible.

In California, winds gusts up to 132 miles per hour were reported in Alpine Meadows, California, and up to 60 miles per hour at San Francisco International Airport.

Heavy rain will continue Thursday in California and then most of the state will catch a break on Friday before more rain arrives over the weekend and into early next week.

Winds in Los Angeles County gusted up to 87 mph and up to 63 mph on the Santa Barbara County coast.

The highest rainfall totals in California over the last 24 hours were 5 inches in Potter Valley, 3.98 inches in Valley Christian, 4.67 inches in Los Angeles County and 1.8 inches in Beverly Hills.

San Francisco picked up more than half of its annual rainfall in just 30 days.

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, more than 5 feet of snow is expected in the next seven days.

Elsewhere, there were 23 reported tornadoes across the South.

Seven tornadoes were confirmed in Illinois alone, making it the biggest tornado outbreak for the state since 1989.

To the north, up to 15 inches of snow fell in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, breaking a daily record and making it the snowiest start to January in five years.

With more than 45 inches of snow so far this season, this is the snowiest start to winter in almost 30 years at Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport.

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