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Traffic Collisions Spike as Heavy Rain Soaks SoCal; Stronger Storm System Approaching

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The first of two El Niño storms forecast to hit the Southland this weekend brought heavy rain to the area overnight, wreaking havoc on local roads as the number of crashes spiked, according to California Highway Patrol statistics.

A big rig caught fire after crashing on the 210 Freeway near on March 6, 2016, according to the Pasadena Fire Department, which tweeted this photo.

A big rig caught fire after crashing on the 210 Freeway near on March 6, 2016, according to the Pasadena Fire Department, which tweeted this photo.

CHP reported 150 collisions in Los Angeles County from 10 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday, 85 more than occurred in the same period last weekend.

While it was unclear how many of the crashes were weather-related, many of the collisions occurred on rain-slicked roadways as wet weather hit the area.

Two of the traffic incidents were fatal, CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos told the Los Angeles Times. One person died in a solo-vehicle crash on the westbound 134 Freeway in Glendale around 2:20 a.m., while a pedestrian was struck and killed by a pickup trick in the Lake Los Angeles area, he said.

In Pasadena, a big rig involved in a fiery crash on the 210 Freeway overnight temporarily blocked lanes on the roadway and also prompted the shutdown of Metro’s Gold Line early Sunday morning.

Buses had to shuttle passengers around the portion of track which was affected by the overturned semi, according to Metro.

An LAFD swift water rescue team pulled a person stranded in the Los Angeles River on March 6, 2016. (Credit: OnScene TV)

An LAFD swift water rescue team pulled a person stranded in the Los Angeles River on March 6, 2016. (Credit: OnScene TV)

The driver was treated for minor injuries, according to the Pasadena Fire Department. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Meanwhile, several people and a dog had to be rescued by firefighters from the rain-swollen L.A. River in the Sepulveda Basin on Sunday morning, according to a Los Angeles Fire Department alert. Three others "self-rescued," while multiple people walked out from river without LAFD aid.

First responders were also investigating reports that multiple people stranded in a tributary south of the river near Burbank Boulevard, the alert stated.

As the rain started to let up, crews were working to clear a homeless encampment at several sites along the stretch of river in anticipation of more wet weather later in the day.

The number of crashes spiked on rain-slicked roadways during a 6-hour period between March 5, 2016, and March 6, 2016, according to the California Highway Patrol. (Credit: Loudlabs)

The number of crashes spiked on rain-slicked roadways during a 6-hour period between March 5, 2016, and March 6, 2016, according to the California Highway Patrol. (Credit: Loudlabs)

Forecasters had predicted that back-to-back winter storms would bring "significant" rain to the drought-stricken region this weekend starting on Saturday.

By Sunday morning, more than an inch and a half of rain fell in Bel Air, and just over an inch was recorded in Ventura, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, according to the National Weather Service.

The second storm, due to arrive by Sunday night, was expected to be a stronger system capable of producing short periods of moderate-to-heavy rain that have the potential to trigger mud and debris flows in recent burn areas, the service warned.

Other possible impacts included small hail and gusty winds.

Rain was expected to last throughout the night and into Monday, potentially affecting commuters during the morning rush hour, forecasters said.

Heavy snow and powerful winds were also predicted in mountain areas, where snow levels were expected to drop to 4,000 feet by Monday.

KTLA's Ashley Soley-Cerro contributed to this report.