Woman rescued when car falls into L.A. sinkhole

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Firefighters arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m. in Studio City and found one car upside-down in a large dark sinkhole full of rushing water, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A 48-year-old woman was standing on her car, approximately 10 feet below street level, Scott said.

Firefighters lowered a 20-foot extension ladder down to the woman, allowing her to climb out, KNBC reported. 

The woman told firefighters that while she was driving, she felt her car pitch to the left and then it tumbled into the sinkhole, Scott said. The airbags deployed and water started coming into the car, and she was not able to escape through the windows because they couldn't open. 

Scott said the woman was able to open the door and climb on top of the car.

The sinkhole was estimated to be about 20 feet wide, KNBC reported.

The sinkhole incident was part of a major weather story in the Los Angeles area. A powerful storm drenched the area, downed trees and power lines, KTLA reported.

The storm has been blamed for at least one death; a man died hours suffering an electrical shock when power lines fell onto his vehicle in the San Fernando Valley, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Throughout Southern California, more than 78,000 customers were without power as of 10 p.m. due to the inclement weather, KTLA reported.

Meanwhile, in Ventura County, the northbound 101 Freeway was shut down north of the city of Ventura after several feet of mud inundated the roadway, KTLA reported.

Flash-flood watches affecting more than 21 million people are in effect for L.A., Ventura and southern Santa Barbara counties, the Weather Service said.

The last time downtown Los Angeles received more than 3 inches of rain in one day was Dec. 28, 2004, when about 5½ inches fell, according to a tweet from the weather service.

The record for one day of rain downtown is 5.88 inches on March 2, 1938.

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