Camper scrapes snow from his truck in Joshua Tree National Park, California

A camper scrapes ice off his pickup in Joshua Tree National Park

Among the dead is a woman hit by a tree that fell on her home, also injuring a man and a three-year-old girl.

Two people have died in California amid a winter storm that also stranded hundreds of vehicles on a highway.

A woman was killed as a pine tree fell on her home early on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A man and a three-year-old girl were injured in the tragedy in Redding in the north of the state.

The storm also claimed the life of a Harbor Patrol officer off the coast, officials said.

The patrolman was on a boat that was hammered by powerful waves at Santa Catalina Island.

In the early hours of Wednesday, firefighters used snowmobiles to rescue more than 180 snow-stuck drivers in Southern California.

Most of the motorists were stranded on a highway in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 70 miles (110km) from Los Angeles.

Many of the drivers abandoned their cars and walked to their homes or nearby shelters.

Some 200 vehicles had to be towed off the road, said California Highway Patrol.

Firefighters transported about 50 motorists to a church in Crestline, where Red Cross workers provided aid.

Other motorists were able to drive away as snowploughs cleared the road.

No injuries or serious collisions were reported.

The National Weather Service forecasts further snowfall across the region.

Gusts are expected to reach 70mph and even parts of usually balmy Los Angeles County could see up to 5in of snow.