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'All the roadways look like a lake': Drivers trapped, roadways closed after knee-high flooding in Acton

Heavy summer rain and thunderstorms continued to pound Los Angeles County on Thursday evening, leaving drivers trapped in their cars on flooded roadways in Acton and Metrolink train commuters scrambling to find a ride home.

A helicopter rescue team hoisted one man to safety as muddy water flowed down the roadway, said Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Gustavo Medina. Aerial footage showed him sitting on top of his black truck, water up to its wheels, before the rescue.

Some people were stuck at a pharmacy because of extreme flooding, while others reported being trapped in their cars in knee-high water.

“All the roadways look like a lake,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Anthony Gunn, warning commuters to avoid attempting to drive through moving water. “If possible, [do] not drive anywhere at this point.”

The flooding forced a Metrolink train carrying about 250 commuters to turn around before reaching the Vincent Grade/Acton station. On its way back to the Via Princessa station in Santa Clarita, the train was halted when floods affected another segment of the track.

“They were getting pretty anxious,” Gunn said of the commuters. “They were concerned about being on the train due to what they were seeing through the windows.”

Soon after, though, authorities determined the track was safe.

Service was interrupted for six other trains heading north from downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night — they are able to travel only up to Via Princessa. Officials were looking into busing high desert residents home, but also encouraged them to seek their own methods of transportation.

“We are attempting to find alternate bus transportation,” said Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson. “Right now because of flash flood issues throughout the Santa Clarita area, we’re having a difficult time with that as well.”

Johnson said train service from the high desert will likely be affected through Friday.

Authorities began receiving reports of flooding about 5 p.m. According to the California Highway Patrol, 2 to 3 feet of mud and water had collected, forcing closures on several major roadways.

Crown Valley Road was closed from Soledad Canyon Road to the 14 Freeway. Part of Soledad Canyon Road was also closed. Metrolink shut down the railroad tracks as police diverted traffic.

As “copious amounts" of monsoonal moisture brought heavy rain and thunderstorms across the mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, weather officials warned residents to prepare for dangerous flash floods.

Areas recently burned by wildfires were particularly susceptible to flash flooding and debris flows.

Earlier this week, thunderstorms caused havoc across the Inland Empire and prompted a flash-flood warning in the Antelope Valley in Los Angeles County.

Strong winds knocked down power lines in Azusa and massive trees in San Bernardino County. Rain caused flooding on highways and neighborhoods throughout San Diego and Riverside counties as other communities were pounded by nickel-sized hail. In San Bernardino, a palm tree caught fire during a lightning storm.

In Huntington Beach, lightning strikes forced officials to briefly evacuate the city beach during the U.S. Open of Surfing.

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek

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UPDATES:

9:25 p.m.: This article was updated with a quote from police.

8:30 p.m.: This article was updated with minor editing, details about potential flash floods.

7:30 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information on the flooding.

This article was originally published at 6:25 p.m.

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