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West Ranch students have hail for lunch

Posted: February 10, 2009 1:39 a.m.
Updated: February 10, 2009 4:30 a.m.
A persistent weather pattern dropped more than a half inch of rain over the last three days in the Santa Clarita Valley, causing 32 collisions and pelting West Ranch High School with hail Monday.

"The cause for these accidents are less about the rain, but more to do with drivers not adjusting to the slick conditions on the road," CHP Officer Michelle Esposito said.

Students at West Ranch high school enjoyed watching hail during lunch.

The icy event reportedly "lasted five minutes," said an administrator of the high school, "but was long enough for the students to delight in this unusual occurrence."

Newhall resident Mitchel Dickens struggled to travel on foot Monday.

"It's been really hard," Dickens said. "I've gotten soaked by quite a few puddles just walking from A to B today."

Santa Clarita Sheriff's Department asked motorists to drive with caution and slow down to accommodate the wet and windy conditions.

The L.A. County Fire Department and the Department of Public Works is on the lookout for mudslides in the area.

Fire Station 73, located on Railroad Ave. in Newhall, is alerted to any situation that arises with Santa Clarita Valley waterways.

"The Fire Department is fully prepared to utilize ground crews for sandbag reinforcement at the first signs of a mud slide," Inspector Frank Garrido of the L.A. County Fire Department said.

No mudslides were reported in the Santa Clarita Valley from the recent wet weather.

According to the National Weather Service, scattered showers are expected to continue throughout the week, with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the upper 30s. The rains are a product of a cold front that is expected to generate more showers and produce gusty winds of 15 to 20 mph.

A National Weather Service advisory states the cold front can bring the snow level down to as low as 3,000 feet and is especially dangerous around the mountain regions and the Antelope Valley.

Freeways and highways are affected by the recent snowfall, including some areas of the state Highway 14 and the Interstate 5 over the Grapevine.

CHP ran traffic breaks Monday on I-5 over the Grapevine and northbound on Highway 14 from Crown Valley to Santiago roads in Acton due to the snow. Angeles National Forest Highway was closed between Sierra Highway and Highway 2 due to heavy snow fall.

Jan Drew, a resident of Bakersfield, was coming back from visiting her husband, a recent bypass-surgery patient, at UCLA.

"You take it for granted until you have to go where you have to go," Drew said as she mentioned her pending drive home through the Grapevine. "I'm just crossing my fingers."

Visiting geologists to the area Monday were rained out during their typical workday.

Meagan Verdeyen and Samia Rogers, two geologists from an environmental consulting firm, were doing a routine water sampling near Soledad Canyon Road, when they had to stop due to a heavy downpour.

"We ended up just doing more work inside, but hope it clears up so we can get back out there," Verdeyen said.


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