Rain Brings Challenges to Southern California

The wet weather impacted the morning commute and was expected to hit afternoon traffic as well

By Melissa Pamer
|  Thursday, Jan 24, 2013  |  Updated 11:26 PM PDT
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An overnight storm caused trouble for many Southland residents Thursday. Hours of rainfall left Oxnard neighborhoods with flooded streets, and a man had to be rescued out of the roaring LA River. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Oxnard for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2013.

Gordon Tokumatsu

An overnight storm caused trouble for many Southland residents Thursday. Hours of rainfall left Oxnard neighborhoods with flooded streets, and a man had to be rescued out of the roaring LA River. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Oxnard for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2013.

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River Rescue, Complaints Amid SoCal Rain

Thursday morning's rain brought traffic, complaints and appreciation from various Southern Californians. It also prompted an LAFD rescue of a man caught amid the rising waters of the Los Angeles River in Elysian Valley. Kathy Vara and Gordon Tokumatsu report for the NBC4 News at Noon on Jan. 24, 2013.
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Thursday's rain, expected to continue on and off throughout the day and into the weekend for Southern California, brought flooding, traffic collisions, complaints and even a river rescue.

In Oxnard early Thursday, flooding was nearly knee-high in the residential Mandalay Shores area. Authorities worked to pump the influx out.

Photos: Your January weather pics

Later in the morning, the Los Angeles Fire Department rescued two men and a woman from the fast-running waters of the LA River in Elysian Valley, where homeless people often camp. They had been stranded on an island in the middle of the river and had yelled for passing cyclists' help.

An employee who worked nearby called 911 and firefighters were able to safely get the individuals to shore from the river's east bank, according to LAFD Battalion Capt. Mark Akohoshi.

Rushing river waters are often a concern in the Southern California area, particularly when rains come after a dry period.

Meanwhile, the road saw many crashes during the morning commute. The California Highway Patrol reported 342 collisions just in Los Angeles County between midnight and 9:30 a.m., compared to 80 crashes for the same time period a week ago.

The National Weather Service warned that hydroplaning was a concern during the rainy period.

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles reminded drivers that headlights must be turned on when the weather requires window wipers. The Thursday afternoon commute was expected to be wet as well.

Meanwhile, the LA County Department of Public Health cautioned residents to be careful of swimming, surfing and playing in the ocean because of potentially dirty, contaminated stormwater discharge.

"We do advise swimmers and surfers to stay away from the storm drains, creeks and rivers as there is the possibility that bacteria or chemicals from debris and trash may contaminate the water near and around these areas, and some individuals may become ill," said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, public health director and health officer.

Surf was expected to be relatively high and the weather service said there was an elevated risk of rip currents, at Los Angeles and Ventura county beaches.

The rain moved into Southern California overnight is expected to continue on and off through the day. Friday and through the weekend should bring more wet weather.

Snow levels were expected to remain relatively high, at about 6,500 feet to 8,000 feet until Sunday, when a much colder storm was expected to bring snow down to about 4,000 feet.

Travel through the Grapevine could be affected Sunday, the weather service said.

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