Steady rain generated by a late fall storm drenched Southern California early Friday, flooding roads and raising fears of landslides in wildfire burn areas.
The steady overnight rain also increased water levels in the region's rivers. A fire-rescue team responded Friday morning to the San Gabriel River in South El Monte where they successfully rescued two women who were stranded on an island, and a litter of puppies. The rescue operation after a night of steady rain was near the 60 and 605 freeways.
The storm moved out of the Los Angeles metro area late Friday morning and into Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Nearly 100 accidents occurred on Los Angeles freeways between 5 and 10 a.m., compared with 57 during the same time frame a week earlier, when it did not rain, the California Highway Patrol reported.
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About 5:50 a.m., a big rig overturned on the transition from the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway to the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway, blocking the roadway for several hours, according to the CHP. No injuries were reported.
A few minutes after the crash, several other vehicles slid on the muddy roadway and nearly crashed into the disabled truck, the CHP reported.
Flooding closed an intersection on La Cienega Boulevard in Westchester near LAX and also shut down lanes on the eastbound 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights.
Power outages due to the rainstorm affected thousands of residents in Los Angeles and Orange counties Friday morning. Around 27,000 customers were impacted in Fountain Valley and over 1,000 were affected in Gardena, according to SoCal Edison. Most customers' power was restored by 4 a.m.
An urban and small stream flood advisory was issued by the National Weather Service before 2 a.m. and due to expire at 7:45 a.m. Expected rainfall rates are a quarter to a third of an inch of rain per hour at times overnight, with as much as a half inch per hour along coastal slopes.
This will cause urban and small stream flooding early morning along with minor mud and debris flows in the recent burn areas. In addition, there could be rapid increase in water levels across the creeks, washes, and rivers, as well as rockslides across canyon roadway.
In the San Gabriel Mountains, a winter weather advisory will be in effect from 2 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday. The snow level would remain above 8,000 feet through early this morning in advance of a cold front, but then drop to as low as 3,500 feet tonight, Coleman said. This, along with strong winds, icy roadways and dangerous wind chill could bring the potential of treacherous driving conditions on Interstate 5 near the Grapevine.
The storm will be the biggest so far of the rainy season, which runs from October to May, according to the NWS. Rainfall totals will range between a half-inch and 1.5 inches in coastal and valley areas and between 1 and 3 inches in the foothills and along south- and southwest-facing mountain slopes, although 4 inches is possible in places.
The threat of flash flooding targeted the so-called burn areas of L.A.County -- in the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys, as well as in areas of Ventura County, the NWS said.
Periods of heavy rain could lead to flash flooding and debris flows down slopes stripped of vegetation in the Sand, Fish, Sage, Old, Solimar, Springs and other recent fires, according to the NWS.
Also threatening the region are strong and potentially damaging winds. A high wind warning, projecting winds blowing or gusting at 58 miles per hour or more, will be in force until 10 a.m. in the San Gabriel Mountains and the Antelope Valley. The wind in those areas is expected to blow at between 20 and 35 mph and gust at 60 mph before quickly tapering off Friday morning.