Dying Tropical Storm Pushes Unseasonable Rain Into Southland

Times Staff Writer

Tropical storm Ramon rumbled to within 1,000 miles of Los Angeles on Sunday, bringing unseasonable rain and thundershowers and prompting flash-flood watches throughout most Southern California mountain areas.

The slowly moving storm--the remains of a once-powerful hurricane packing 138-m.p.h. winds a few days earlier--was reported to be dying about 300 miles off the southern tip of Baja California. But it still had enough punch to cause intermittent rainfall across much of the Southland.

Half an inch or more was reported in parts of San Diego and Orange counties by late Sunday evening, with lesser amounts reported in Los Angeles County, the National Weather Service said.


Hardest hit was Fallbrook, near San Diego, where three-quarters of an inch fell Sunday. Newport Beach had half an inch, while Riverside reported a record for Oct. 11--.43 of an inch. Rainfall was less in the deserts, where Palm Springs and Death Valley both had .28 of an inch by nightfall.

The amounts were lighter still in the Los Angeles area.

Torrance reported .18, but no measurable rain was recorded at the Civic Center or Los Angeles International Airport. Santa Monica also reported no measurable precipitation.

Chances for rain were said to be slightly greater today, with heavy showers expected in some areas, forecasters said.

The rain is expected to end sometime Tuesday as Ramon--downgraded late Sunday night to a tropical depression--disintegrates, predicted meteorologists from WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.

“It’s not very often that the remains of a hurricane affect Southern California,” WeatherData meteorologist Janice Roth said. “Once or twice a year you may get clouds (from a hurricane). But this is unusual.”

The season’s first major storm caused a variety of isolated problems Sunday, including some flooding in Orange County and wind advisories below mountain passes, but the rainfall was a blessing for firefighters trying to contain the massive Palomar Mountain blaze near San Diego.


About 400 firefighters were sent home early Sunday as half an inch of rain fell in the mountains where the fire had burned nearly 16,000 acres by Saturday night. Fire officials late Sunday reported that the blaze was 100% contained, thanks to the wet weather. At the same time, they feared the heavy rain on the barren hillsides will cause mud slides. No homes or roads were reported threatened.

Cooler Weather, Mild Winds

The storm brought cooler weather and mild winds to the Los Angeles area, where highs were reported in the upper 60s to low 80s.

Sunday’s Los Angeles Civic Center high was 82. Relative humidity ranged from 96% to 38%.

Forecasters said similar temperatures are expected today, with winds expected to reach 20 to 30 m.p.h. at times.

Sporadic drizzles and occasional downpours were blamed for at least one traffic fatality in Los Angeles County, officials said.

An unidentified young woman was killed when her car flipped over on rain-slick pavement near Diamond Bar, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident occurred at Brea Canyon Cutoff Road and Fallowfield Drive near the 57 Freeway, the CHP said.


The California Highway Patrol reported that cars spinning out of control on the rain-slick pavement led to injury accidents Sunday on the Riverside, San Diego, Costa Mesa and Garden Grove freeways in Orange County.

Six Accidents

Within one 10-minute period Sunday afternoon, the CHP responded to six rain-related freeway accidents, an Orange County dispatcher said.

Flash-flood watches were in effect from the Santa Ana Mountains to the Laguna Mountains and from Lake Arrowhead to Joshua Tree National Monument. Those alerts could continue until rainy conditions clear up Tuesday, WeatherData spokesman Dan Bowman said.

Ramon, the 18th hurricane of the Pacific season, was downgraded Sunday to a tropical storm after winds had fallen from a high of 138 m.p.h. to about 68 m.p.h. The storm, moving about 10 m.p.h. northwestward, was downgraded further to a tropical depression when the winds fell to about 35 m.p.h., weather officials said.