Rain, Cold Come Early, Traffic Mishaps Follow

Times Staff Writer

A storm brought rain and cold temperatures to Orange County Monday, triggering a rash of traffic accidents on the streets and freeways.

At least one person was hospitalized following a collision about 2:30 p.m. between a truck and a car on the Orange Freeway, north of Orangethorpe Avenue.

The National Weather Service said Monday's storm, while not a complete surprise, arrived nearly a day before it had been expected.

Meteorologists explained that a high pressure area lodged off the Washington coast was forcing the Arctic storm track farther inland than usual, allowing the cold front to make contact with a moist tropical air mass southwest of San Diego.

Forecasters said a northwesterly mass of cool and somewhat drier air will spread over the area Tuesday and Wednesday, cutting off the southwesterly flow of moisture. The rains were expected to continue through the night, tapering off today to a 10% chance of showers this afternoon.

Temperatures throughout the county are expected range from 56 to 60 today, following overnight lows in the mid to upper 40s.

The high reading in the county Monday was 60 in both Santa Ana and Newport Beach, while it was 55 in San Juan Capistrano and 54 in El Toro.

By late afternoon, .31 of an inch of rain had fallen in downtown Santa Ana, bringing the season total to 7.80 inches. The seasonal average for Jan. 28 is 6.51 inches. Other rainfall figures included .23 of an inch at Villa Park Dam, .55 at Santiago Peak and .15 in Costa Mesa.

The weather service issued a traveler's advisory, warning of blowing and drifting snow overnight in the mountain areas above 3,000 feet.

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