Rain triggers 570% surge in Los Angeles County freeway crashes

A weekend rainstorm that drenched Southern California and triggered hundreds of freeway crashes will disappear by the afternoon and make way for cool, autumn weather on Thanksgiving, the National Weather Service said Monday.

Over Sunday and Monday, the storm dumped more than two inches of rain in San Luis Obispo County and more than an inch at Brentwood’s Getty Center in Los Angeles County, where a surge in car crashes left freeways intermittently jammed, authorities said. 

According to statistics from the California Highway Patrol, between 9 p.m. Sunday and 1 a.m. Monday there were 201 reported crashes on L.A. County’s freeways — a 570% increase from the same period last week when the CHP counted 30 crashes.

Runoff also swelled the Los Angeles River and prompted the rescue of four people who were stranded on a small island near Atwater Village early Monday morning, officials said.

About 100 Los Angeles city firefighters worked to rescue the two men and two women who had climbed into trees as rising water swept past at 35 mph. The city had activated two rescue crews the night before, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott.

Another Los Angeles River rescue occurred in South Gate, where Los Angeles County firefighters rescued a man who tried to walk through the fast-moving water Sunday night, officials said.

By Monday afternoon, the storm should make way for patchy clouds and temperatures in the mid-60s, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Sweet.

“I think our rain is pretty much over for the rest of the week,” he said.

Inland valleys could reach the mid-70s by Thursday, but the rest of Southern California’s beach and mountain communities and downtown L.A. should be a few degrees cooler through the rest of the week, Sweet said.

Northern California is also being hit by rain this week, which is producing much-needed snow in the parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains, a key source of water for California as the state deals with a fifth year of drought.

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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