2nd Day of Rain Makes for Dangerous Driving Conditions Across SoCal

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A Pacific storm that is bringing heavy rain to Southern California for a second day Thursday is also creating havoc for drivers, with flooded roads and sinkholes forcing closures across the region. Downpours of up to an inch of rain per hour have much of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties under flood advisories and other weather-related warnings throughout Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Multiple incidents were reported on Southland freeways and surface streets as the rain flooded the roadways.

Road closures

Riverside County

Highway 243 was closed between the 10 Freeway in Banning and Hurley Flats Road in the San Bernardino National Forest after half of the roadway eroded near Lake Fulmor, creating a giant chasm. There was no estimate on when the damage could be repaired. Residents of Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Pine Cove were being asked to shelter in place because of deteriorating road conditions, county officials said in a tweet. Idyllwild School at 26700 Highway 243 in Idyllwild was being set up as a care and reception center. Several other roads were closed due to flooding as of Thursday afternoon:
  • In Anza, Kirby Road was closed due to flooding.
  • In the Desert Hot Springs areaDillon Road between Worsley Road and Vía Diablo.
  • In Cabazon, Esperanza Avenue was closed.

San Bernardino County

Heavy mudflow was creating concerns near the 15 Freeway’s Cajon Pass and Highway 138. Motorists were advised to drive safely and never pass through rushing water. State Route 74 reopened after closing from Grand Avenue to Orange County line until around 4:30 p.m. for mud and debris removal, Caltrans said. The following roads were closed Thursday afternoon due to a road losses:
  • State Route 243 was closed from the 10 Freeway to State Route 74.
  • State Route 18 was closed from Big Bear Dam to Boulder Bay.
  •  State Route was closed from Lake Hemet to Borco East of Valle Vista.
State Route 38 was closed from Big Bear Dam to Fawnskin and from Garnet to the Mill Creek in Mentone due to a downed tree and power lines, and from Valley of The Falls to Seven Oaks Road. Several other roads were closed in the county Thursday morning:
  • State Route 18 from Snow Valley to Big Bear Dam.
  • State Route 173 from State Route 138 to Summit Valley Road.
  • State Route 83 from State Route 71 to Pine Avenue.
  • State Route 2 was closed from Big Pine to Islip Saddle.
Highway 18 was washing away with a flooding waterfall, prompting the closure in Little Arctic Circle from Boulder Bay Park to Big Bear Dam, according to the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station. In the Angeles National Forest, Mt Baldy Road was closed in the area of Snow Crest Lodge due to flooding.

Los Angeles County

In Long Beach, he 710 Freeway was temporarily closed near PCH about 4:30 a.m. after a BMW got stuck in a flooded portion of the roadway and needed help getting out, according to the California Highway Patrol’s traffic incident log. Commuters who may come across flooded roadways Thursday were reminded by the Weather Service to “turn around, don’t drown.” Further up the coast, Topanga Canyon Boulevard was closed from PCH to Grand View Drive amid mud and debris slides, with some cars stranded on the road, Caltrans said. Motorists were asked to avoid the area. Several road closures had been in place in Burbank, including on Country Club Drive, a steep street experienced dangerous mudflow as residents were trying to evacuated during a storm last year. They were lifted shortly before 2 p.m., but residents were urged to keep updated on conditions with more rain expected later in the week. In Hermosa Beach, a sinkhole prompted road closures in the area of 35th Street and Palm Drive Roadway. Video showed a crew working to repair the sinkhole.

Orange County

Officials had to close a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway from Seapoint Street to Goldenwest Street in Huntington Beach due to flooding, a Police Department spokesperson told KTLA. Caltrans later updated the closure information stating the highway was closed from Seapoint Street to  Warner Avenue. It was unclear how long the closure would be in place. In Brea, eastbound Carbon Canyon Road was shut down from Valencia Avenue to the San Bernardino County line due to flooding around 12:30 p.m., and the closure was expected to last at least four hours. Flooding also prompted multiple closures in Laguna Beach. Laguna Canyon between Canyon Acres and El Toro was shut down, as was Broadway Street between Beach and PCH, according to Laguna Beach officials.

Ventura County

In Ventura County, numerous mudslides and debris flows prompted the closure of Highway 33 between Fairview Road in Ojai and Lockwood Valley Road, according to Caltrans. Emergency vehicles and residents would still be allowed through, however.

Bad commute

The wet weather is also being blamed for cars hydroplaning and crashing into guard rails during the morning commute. A SigAlert was issued about 2:30 a.m. after a vehicle ended up blocking the carpool, one, two and three lanes on the northbound 405 Freeway at Santa Fe Avenue. Video from Riverside County showed one vehicle had overturned following a crash on the 215 Freeway near Highway 74. And several vehicles were involved in a collision on the eastbound 60 connector road to the southbound 71 Freeway. At least one of the vehicles ended up in lanes temporarily blocking traffic. The rainy weather is expected to continue well into Thursday evening and possibly return on Friday. Check back for updates on this developing story.

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