Weather Forecasters say the storms are connected to tornadoes

Scattered storms, lightning hit Southern California and prompt beach closuresA series of thunderstorms ripped across Southern California Friday, sending massive rainstorms that caused catastrophic damage on several beaches as far north as Tustin.

In Los Angeles County, authorities were struggling to determine if the storms that struck Thursday night are connected to tornadoes touched down in Southern California earlier that day, as well as the recent rains over the region.

Storm chasers from as far away as Las Vegas said Friday afternoon that the storms have been moving over Southern California for days, including a cold front that brought in a cold front that brought a cold front.

“It looks like it’s a bad, bad storm,” said Ed Kranysh, meteorologist and severe weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, who is retired from the United States Army.

In Santa Barbara, forecasters said the National Weather Service office issued a flash flood watch for the area. Officials in Ventura County told the Santa Barbara News-Press the National Weather Service office issued a flash flood watch for the county Friday.

The storms rolled through the region between 10 p.m. Thursday and midnight Friday, sending flash flood warnings, downgraded warnings and watches for the region from Del Mar to Tustin, California Highway Patrol Officer John Nunez told the newspaper. He said the agency received reports of at least 12 major road closures, as well as more than 30 to 40,000 property-loss reports.

“These storms are a mixture of rain and strong winds, which are the main reasons for the dangerous weather in Southern California,” said a weather statement issued by the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

In Del Mar, officials said the highway that runs through the tourist town was closing for repairs.

“The situation is very serious. It’s a very dangerous situation and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Roberta Tatum, a passenger on the highway after it started to close.

“I’m from Alabama and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she told the Times-Standard.

In Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Fire Department received a report of a house fire in the 700 block of South El Prado

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