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Rain wreaks havoc on SCV

Weather: High winds and wet roads contribute to auto crashes, collapsed roofs and toppled trees

Posted: March 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Dennis Hancock of Wolf’s Towing prepares to tow a Nissan sedan that hit a tree on the median of Soledad Canyon Road about a half-mile east of Bouquet Canyon Road in Santa Clarita on Sunday. Heavy rains and high winds contributed to collapsed rooftops, auto crashes and toppled trees in the Santa Clarita Valley.

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Rough weather on the first day of spring caused problems for drivers in Santa Clarita on Sunday as heavy rains walloped the valley, and gusty winds lashed the area.

Roads throughout the valley were flooded, and Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies were in the process of closing Wiley Canyon Road between Lyons Avenue and Calgrove Boulevard at 7 p.m. Sunday due to flooding, said Sgt. Brian Allen of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

Allen added that Bouquet Canyon Road between Newhall Ranch Road and Central Park, and San Francisquito from Copper Hill Drive to Lowridge Place were flooded, but still drivable at that time.

Also closed, just after 7 p.m., was Interstate 5 at Lake Hughes Road, said California Highway Patrol Officer A. Mack.
“We are turning (drivers) around at Parker Road and directing them up Highway 14 or Highway 126,” Mack said.

The rain didn’t only affect SCV roads.

“We’ve got stuff falling apart all over the place right now,” Allen said. A tree fell on top of a mobile home on Bouquet Canyon in Saugus and business building’s roof partially collapsed on Avenue Scott in Valencia, Allen added. Some minor landslides and fallen trees blocked traffic temporarily but didn’t impact drivers for long, he said.

Wind gusts of up to 55 mph also caused problems.

The roof of the Shell gas station in Castaic collapsed about 1 p.m., coming down on a green Dodge Ram 1500 Sport. The owner of the gas station, located at the corner of Ridge Route Road and Castaic Road, was not available for comment on Sunday.

Newhall got 4 inches of rain through 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Bill Hoffer, a National Weather Service spokesman. The rain should subside by midmorning today, he said.

“It was a late-winter storm that passed through Sunday and will exit today,” Hoffer said. “The rain will taper off (this morning), and we will have scattered showers and a chance of thunderstorms (this afternoon).”

Rains overnight had the potential to dump up to 1.5 inches per hour on Santa Clarita, Hoffer said.  Severe thunderstorm, high wind, flash flood warnings were issued, among others.

“Widespread urban flooding is expected, and locations in and around burn areas are at risk of debris and mudslides,” Hoffer said.

Being pelted by rain was enough to keep most shoppers at home.

Daisy Nieto, who manages Family Florist in Canyon Country, said she had only one or two customers all day.
 “We can tell from the parking,” Nieto said. “Normally, it’s completely full.”

However, it couldn’t stop Lisette Browning, 39, of Newhall.

“I have work all week, so I have to go now,” she said.

Hoffer said no rain is expected Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday will see scattered showers in the mornings, with rains increasing in the evenings. Highs in the valley hovered in the high-40s Sunday, and some of the surrounding mountains got up to 24 inches of snow, Hoffer said.


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