Quick-Hitting Storm Plays Havoc With Traffic


A pounding rain Thursday played havoc with the morning commute before tapering off and yielding to blustery winds and bright sunshine.

More rain is on the way, forecasters said, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

So too is high surf, particularly on west-facing beaches such as those in the South Bay, as two more storms appear poised to barrel into Southern California in the next few days, forecasters said.

The series of storms is linked to a cold front from the Pacific Northwest, said John Sherwin, a meteorologist for Wichita, Kan.-based WeatherData Inc., which supplies forecasts to The Times.


“The second storm looks pretty similar to the one you saw [Thursday],” Sherwin said. “It’s going to be another quick-hitter around late morning or early afternoon on Saturday. Then an even stronger storm system will come in that could really affect your weather Monday and Tuesday with an extended period of rain.”

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory for the Southern California shoreline, warning that breakers 10 feet high may roar ashore as soon as today on west-facing beaches.

“Hawaii is getting big surf,” said Lt. Bob Schroeder, gazing Thursday at a photo at county lifeguards’ South Bay headquarters in Hermosa Beach. “All the forecasts say we’re supposed to get it too. We’re waiting.”

Anticipating big waves today, Lt. Mike Cunningham added: “We’re asking for safety’s sake that all surfers take extra precautions. And anyone out or near rocks fishing or spectating--be extra careful.”

The storm Thursday, which began before dawn and eased off at midmorning, dropped 0.96 of an inch of rain at the Civic Center--bringing the season’s total to 9.12 inches.

The California Highway Patrol counted 230 accidents from 6 to 10 a.m. on the freeways and roads that it patrols throughout Los Angeles County, Officer Richard Perez said.


By comparison, there were 63 accidents during the same period last Thursday, which was free of rain, Perez said.

The CHP did not report any fatalities in Thursday morning’s rain. The rash of fender-benders, however, brought the morning commute to a crawl--and, in some cases, to a standstill.

Anna Mullins of Glendora, a Los Angeles Police Department detective trainee, called the westbound San Bernardino Freeway a “parking lot,” and said the time it took for her usual drive into Boyle Heights tripled.

“My commute usually takes about 35 minutes,” she said. “But Thursday it took 1 hour and 45 minutes for me to get to work.

“I was very frustrated and stressed out,” Mullins said, lamenting the eternal plight of the Southern California commuter. “But what could I do?”

Times staff writers Solomon Moore, Erika Chavez and Susan Abram contributed to this story.


El What?

Rainfall totals to date since July 1.

Last season: 12.32

This year: 9.12

Season norm: 7.62

Source: WeatherData Inc.