O.C. Experiences a Smattering of Closures, Flooding and Damage : Weather: Pacific system doesn’t live up to its warning. Most areas report about 2 inches of rainfall.


The much-ballyhooed Pacific storm that walloped Los Angeles and Northern California packed considerably less punch in Orange County, where wind and rain caused a handful of major road closures but no injuries, authorities said Saturday.

The tardy storm, which dumped about 2 inches of rain on most of the county Friday night and Saturday morning, caused some localized flooding. But by Saturday morning, sunny skies prevailed and temperatures crept toward the 70-degree mark later in the day.

“It’s been quiet, it’s been nice--for a change,” said Rick Schooley, a public works manager for the Environmental Management Agency.


Orange County had watched all week as a series of powerful weather systems brought areas of Northern California to a soggy standstill.

Forecasters braced for a copycat storm here, some saying the county could get 15 inches of water in a three-day period.

But the greatest rainfall recorded Saturday afternoon was at Santiago Peak, 3.54 inches, and most areas reported only about 2 inches in the 24-hour period ending at 4:30 p.m.

Other than a few flooded businesses in Seal Beach and power outages that affected about 13,000 Santa Ana residents, Orange County was spared the kind of damage inflicted on other parts of the state.

Traffic accidents may have been kept to a minimum, officials said, by the storm’s arrival after rush hour.

Ortega Highway was closed late Friday from La Pata Avenue to the Riverside County line, when flooding damaged a bridge at La Pata Avenue, said Lt. Rex Hatch of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Hatch said Caltrans officials believed the bridge could be repaired as soon as Monday.


In Mission Viejo, meanwhile, rain and runoff apparently helped buckle a portion of busy El Toro Road, creating long traffic delays Saturday morning.

Because of a massive hole in the road, some residents of nearby Portola Hills faced a roughly 20-mile detour getting to and from their neighborhood.

“That closes a main thoroughfare used by lots of people,” said Tom Connelie, another public works manager for the EMA.

Engineers were at the scene Saturday trying to determine the cause of the problem. Road crews were expected to build a bypass around the sinkhole before Monday morning’s rush hour.

Flooding closed Laguna Canyon Road, from Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach to the San Diego Freeway late Friday. The road remained closed all day Saturday.

In Irvine, meanwhile, power poles snapped by 35-m.p.h. winds caused traffic to be diverted briefly away from Sand Canyon Avenue, between the Santa Ana Freeway and Alton Parkway, while workers cleared the road, said Sheriff’s Lt. Jay Mendez.


The road was cleared by early morning.

Winds did some damage in Santa Ana as well, toppling a tree that bounced off a truck before making a soft landing on a house at 608 E. Santa Clara Ave. No one was injured.

In Seal Beach, a flooded Marina Drive meant Johnny Scebbi knew he had to get to work early Saturday morning--with his mop. Sure enough, the pizza shop Scebbi has run for 26 years was ankle deep in standing water.

“It really came down,” said Scebbi, owner of Johnny’s on Marina Drive. “I had sandbags at my back door and somehow the water came in.”

But Johnny’s was open and dry as a sun-dried tomato for the typical Saturday pizza rush.

They were less fortunate at Piret’s Bistro in South Coast Plaza. After weathering the overnight storm, servers and customers thought the rain was gone for good.

But as black clouds suddenly scudded overhead, lunch customers wearing sunglasses and shorts were drenched with rain before they had a chance to cover their chicken linguine.

“People laughed, they had a good time,” said Ariana Dogil, a server, describing the chaos that erupted.


Curtis Brack of WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times, said the rain was expected to continue into this morning, followed by partly cloudy skies the rest of the day.


Storm Totals

Rainfall totals for 24-hour period ending 4:30 p.m. Saturday. City: Inches El Toro: 3.48 Santa Ana: 2.59 San Juan Capistrano: 2.61 Anaheim: 1.92 Dana Point: 1.75 Source: WeatherData Inc.