The Heat Is Online

Los Angeles Inundated by 4-inch Rain

Los Angeles get more than 4 inches of rain, Mar. 17, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) A swimmer drowned in rough surf and three people died in several of the more than 1,000 car crashes that occurred as a storm dumped record rain and left a muddy mess across the state.

In Chino, residents spent Sunday shoveling mud out of their yards. On Santa Catalina Island, a rockslide hit a car in Avalon harbor Sunday, causing damage but no injuries. In San Dimas Canyon, residents spent Saturday night filling sand bags to divert mud and rain water from homes.

Even as the heavy rains ended, a wind advisory was expected to remain in effect until Tuesday across the Southland, with gusts predicted to reach up to 55 mph in some areas.

Over the weekend, a 33-year-old man died when his pickup truck plunged from the Pasadena Freeway into the usually dry Arroyo Seco north of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said the pickup overturned early Sunday and was pushed about 150 yards downstream.

A 92-year-old woman was killed in a head-on collision Saturday on East Imperial Highway in Los Angeles County. A passenger died Saturday when a vehicle went over the side of the southbound Golden State Freeway near Templin Highway and fell about 50 feet.

A high surf advisory was in effect for the California coast until Tuesday. Officials said high surf and rip currents were a factor in the drowning of an 18-year-old man swimming at Huntington Beach.

About 4.1 inches of rain fell in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, breaking a 1952 record. It was the second-highest rainfall in a 24-hour period in March since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1877. Precipitation records also were set in Oxnard, with 3.28 inches of rain; Chatsworth, with 3.2 inches of rain and Torrance with 1.83 inches.

In just one day Saturday, there was more rainfall in Los Angeles than the monthly average of 3.14 inches, said Bill Hoffer, a NWS meteorological technician in Oxnard. The downpour was just short of the average 4.42 inches that fell between July 2001 and June 2002, one of the driest on record.

In Northern California, rainfall levels ranged from one-half inch to 2 inches in the mountains.

A three-car accident during steady rainfall Sunday morning closed two San Francisco-bound lanes on the Bay Bridge for several hours.

Rainfall in the San Diego area was moderate, with 1.16 inches falling at Lindbergh Field airport. Record low temperatures were recorded early Sunday in nearby Escondido, where the 59 degrees beat the 1999 record by two degrees. Vista's 57 degrees beat a 1963 record by one degree.

At Big Bear ski resort, about 1.7 inches of rain fell, and snow level dropped to about 5,500 feet.

Urban flooding occurred throughout California during the storm, with rainfall reaching up to car doors in some areas. Nearly 7,000 people lost power in Southern California due to the Saturday storm but most had their power restored within several hours.