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Rainy weather departs L.A., but bitter cold and wind will take its place this weekend

About 40 Los Angeles County firefighters rescued two homeless women stranded on an island in the San Gabriel River where it meets the 60 Freeway.

An overnight rainstorm that wreaked havoc on Southern California's roads, freeways and foothills will make way for a cold and blustery weekend that could bring snow and ice to the Grapevine, the National Weather Service said Friday.

A winter weather advisory issued for the Southland -- from the Cuyama Valley in San Luis Obispo County to Los Angeles County's inland mountains — warned that temperatures may drop below freezing at elevations as low as 2,500 feet.

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A combination of  "strong winds, icy roadways, and dangerous wind chill readings will bring the potential for treacherous driving conditions through Saturday morning across the north facing slopes of … local mountains … including Interstate 5 near the Grapevine," the advisory said.

One to three inches of snow may fall in the Tejon Pass area, where winds could gust up to 55 mph, said weather specialist Bonnie Bartling.

"Travel could be dicey there," Bartling said.

Drivers going through the Grapevine and other Southern California mountain roads are urged to carry emergency supplies such as extra water, flashlights, blankets and snow chains.

At lower elevations the forecast is only slightly better, Bartling said. Temperatures are expected to drop into the low 30s in Los Angeles County valleys and hover in the low 40s along the coast and downtown Friday night. Saturday evening is predicted to be even colder, she said.

The forecast promises a second night of difficult driving conditions for many Southern California motorists.

Rain that moved in Thursday night and ended Friday closed a major traffic route to Los Angeles International Airport and closed the 110 Freeway near South Pasadena, authorities said. It also helped to collapse an ivy-draped wall onto several cars in Cudahy.

The storm, which also prompted the rescue of two women in the San Gabriel River, began in San Luis Obispo County the previous afternoon and dumped more than five inches of rain there in 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service. By Friday morning, the storm had moved into Los Angeles County, pouring well over an inch of rain in the mountains, valleys and downtown.

The downpour was heavy enough that it triggered a minor mud flow in Duarte, where two brush fires had torn through the foothills earlier this year. The mud flow forced the closure of Valley View Elementary School.

Commuters heading to LAX in the morning were forced to avoid La Cienega Boulevard where it meets Fairview Boulevard, after more than a foot of water filled the street and forced the Los Angeles Police Department to close the area, police said.

Meanwhile, the muddy westbound 210 Freeway transition to the northbound 5 Freeway was closed through the morning after a big rig turned on its side, the California Highway Patrol said.

The CHP also closed the 110 Freeway in both directions near South Pasadena after a massive lake formed between York Boulevard and Via Marisol, Caltrans reported.

"They're having some tough times out there," said CHP Officer Peter Nicholson.

The rain also brought a slew of big rig accidents, one of them fatal, to Los Angeles-area freeways and triggered at least one swift-water rescue.

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Commuters heading to LAX in the morning were forced to avoid La Cienega Boulevard where it meets Fairview Boulevard.

One person was killed when a big rig overturned on the transition road from the westbound 105 Freeway to the northbound 710 Freeway in Paramount, said California Highway Patrol Officer Dion Conley.

But as fast as authorities could clear freeway lanes, wayward drivers clogged them up again.

"On the way to work I passed three spin-outs," Nicholson said. "There's a lot of stuff happening out there."

Highlighting the troubles Southern California drivers have with the rain, Nicholson said there were 165 collisions reported between 7 p.m. and midnight Thursday in Los Angeles County, when the rain had arrived. There were only 54 crashes during the same time period last week when it was dry, he said.

Meanwhile, about 40 L.A. County firefighters rushed to El Monte after 5 a.m. to rescue two homeless women stranded on an island in the San Gabriel River where it meets the 60 Freeway, authorities said. Footage from news outlets showed the women were hoisted into an L.A. County Sheriff's Department helicopter. Also evacuated from the raging waters was a bucket-load of five shivering Chihuahua puppies.

Marc Olson contributed to this report.

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UPDATES:

1:35 p.m.: This article was updated with details of the weekend weather forecast.

10:50 a.m.: This article has been updated with details on a closure on the 110 Freeway.

8:40 a.m.: This article has been updated with details on closures and rescues.

6:30 a.m.: This article has been updated with details on crashes, flooding and rescues throughout L.A. County.

5:20 a.m.: This article has been updated with a report on flooding on the eastbound 60 Freeway.

3:50 a.m.: This article has been updated with a report of crews still trying to upright an overturned big rig in Paramount.

This article was originally published at 2:35 a.m.

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