Southern California got another dose of heavy surf and light rain mixed with now-and-then offerings of blue sky and bright sunshine Wednesday, and the National Weather Service said that is about how things will go until next week.
The surf tapered off to eight-foot breakers with occasional 10-foot rogues during the morning--which was enough to keep a few west-facing beaches closed and do a little more damage to the decaying timbers of the Ventura Pier. But forecasters said the worst was over, and there were already a few reckless surfers trying their luck off more protected parts of the coastline.
A small-craft advisory kept most boats tied up at docks through the day, and travelers advisories were in effect for gusty winds and blowing sand in the deserts, while mountain resorts continued to report new snow above 5,000 feet.
In Orange County, Wednesday's scattered showers caused a few serious accidents and many fender benders but there was little damage to roads, piers and crops, authorities said.
In Brea, a Long Beach man sustained chest injuries and leg fractures when he lost control of his car on a rain-slicked road and it hit a telephone pole. Don Mihalik, 24, was flown by helicopter to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he was reported in stable condition Wednesday night.
Laguna Beach reported the most rain in Orange County on Wednesday with .39 of an inch, bringing the season's total to 9.04, compared to last year's figure of 11.14. Costa Mesa had .1 of an inch, while precipitation in Santa Ana, Villa Park and Santiago Peak amounted to less than .05 of an inch for each city. Newport Beach reported .23 of an inch, bringing the season's total to 10.57.
On 10,813-foot San Jacinto Peak in Riverside County, the problem was snow, as an Anaheim man found out.
David Ayer, 26, was found by rescuers on Tuesday after spending two nights on the mountain.
Ayer had driven Saturday to Humber Park, at the base of Tahquitz Peak near Idyllwild. From a trail head there, he hiked alone into the San Jacinto Wilderness Area early Sunday morning.
"He was supposed to go with a friend," Ayer's mother said Wednesday, "but his friend had to work."
On Monday, after the worst of the snowstorm had passed, Ayer set out to return to his car. But severe weather and deep snow on the downward trail forced him to turn east, toward Palm Springs. On Tuesday, more than a full day after his expected return, a member of the volunteer Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit spotted him plodding through the snow south of Hidden Lake.
Described as "cold, tired, hungry" by Riverside County Sheriff's Capt. Larry D. Smith, Ayer, a student at Fullerton College, was airlifted to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Officials there said he showed no signs of injury, frostbite or hypothermia.
The Orange County forecast called for continued light showers today and some clearing tonight. National Weather Service forecasters expect partial cloudiness on Friday with warmer temperatures in the mid-60s.