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Rain creates traffic trouble

More than 20 weather-related collisions

Posted: November 1, 2008 9:05 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.
 

While booming thunder woke many in Santa Clarita, California Highway Patrol responded to numerous rain-related collision calls Saturday morning.

"We've got well over 20," said CHP Sgt. Rick Miler at about 1 p.m. Saturday. Miler predicted at least 30 to 40 by the end of the day.

By 11 a.m. about half an inch of rain had fallen in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to meteorologist Jamie Meier of the National Weather Service. "There's easily been probably another half inch," she said at about 1:20 p.m.

The Weather Service issued a flood watch running until 4 p.m. to highlight the threat of mudslides or debris flows on hillsides in areas burned by the 2007 and 2008 fires. A flood advisory was also in effect for urban areas and small stream areas until 10 p.m.

"We've had pretty high rain fall rates for this area for an extended period of time," Meier said. "Because of that, we expect some of the small streams or streets to see some flooding today."

But despite warnings and advisories, CHP officers had a busy day.

Only some property damage and minor injuries occurred as a result of the collisions, according to Miler.

"We did have a major collision early this morning where we had to airlift somebody out," Miler said. A female suffered several fractures in her legs and a fractured skull by Hwy 138, just south of Gorman, according to Miler. Additional details are unknown.

There are always more collisions than usual on the first rainy day, said CHP Sgt. Diana Johnson.

"People just don't want to slow down. They don't want to change their habits for the conditions." Johnson could not confirm additional major injuries or collision numbers in the evening.

It will be a while before the CHP will be able to know the number of collisions, she said.

There were also a few reports of power outages in Valencia.

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