Heavier Showers Than Expected Soak Southland, Put Chill in Air

Times Staff Writer

What the weather people foresaw as a light rain turned out to be a little heavier Friday, but not enough to inundate homes or set hillsides in motion.

“This is just the type of rain we like to have,” said Los Angeles County Department of Public Works spokeswoman Jean Granucci. “It’s light and steady. The watershed is so dry, it just saturates quickly.”

By the time the showers tailed off Friday morning, the Los Angeles Civic Center recorded .15 of an inch of rain, bringing the season total to a paltry .79. Normal total to date is 2.12 inches.

Temperatures were also below average. The Los Angeles Civic Center high reading Friday was 55 degrees--which tied the record low maximum set for this date 109 years ago. The overnight low reading on Friday was 46. High relative humidity was 100%. The low was 50%.


The weekend is expected to be dry, said meteorologist Dave Beusterien of WeatherData, which provides forecasts to The Times.

Gusty Winds

A mild Santa Ana condition will bring a warming trend. Today should be partly cloudy with Los Angeles high temperatures in the mid-60s. Sunday is expected to be sunny with highs in the upper 70s. Look for local gusty winds below the canyons.

As the rain pelted down on most of Southern California during the morning hours Friday, there was some freeway flooding. Two northbound Harbor Freeway lanes just north of the San Diego Freeway were closed from 7:13 a.m. until shortly after 11 a.m., Caltrans said.


There was also some flooding on the southbound Harbor Freeway transition road to the westbound Artesia Freeway, and a small mudslide forced closure of the Pasadena Freeway’s Orange Grove Avenue off-ramp. The latter was reopened about noon.

Despite the annoyances, no major traffic problems were reported. Streets and highways were not heavily traveled.

Mountains Busy

Business was brisk in the Southland mountains, where light snow continued to fall above the 7,000-foot level during the day, and happy skiers took to the slopes. Big Bear got its first good snow, with 2 to 3 inches falling by Friday morning.

“Everybody’s open for business,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Stephen Moran said of the ski resorts. “Traffic seems to be flowing.”

But the snow did make driving conditions hazardous in some areas. Chains or snow tires were required on California 330 from San Bernardino through Running Springs, California 18 from Running Springs to Big Bear and California 38 from Redlands to Big Bear.

Surfers were enjoying themselves too.

“It’s 3- to 4-foot surf and they like it,” said county lifeguard Lt. Tom Viren at Santa Monica. “The offshore winds are kicking the waves up.”


Winds caused trouble for motorists in desert areas. Gusts up to 50 m.p.h. were reported in the Tehachapi Valley. Winds in the Mojave Desert were “a threat to travelers,” the National Weather Service said.