Trick-or-treaters and motorists braved slick, dangerous streets Saturday after a Pacific storm dumped more than an inch of rain throughout Los Angeles, and more showers were predicted for this morning.
Paramedics and the California Highway Patrol had responded to more than 100 traffic accidents by Saturday evening. Heavy rains caused a temporary power outage among 200 homes in Watts and set off small rock slides near Palmdale.
By 5 p.m. Saturday, 1.01 inches of rain had fallen at the Civic Center.
The gloomy weather put a damper on many weekend activities, forcing 200 volunteers from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works to cancel a graffiti cleanup in East Los Angeles and causing a smaller-than-expected crowd at a Los Angeles City Hall rally for increasing the state minimum wage. At the Pomona Raceway, rain forced postponement of the 23rd annual National Hot Rod Assn. Winston Finals drag race until Nov. 6.
West Hollywood Festivities
The Halloween turnout in West Hollywood along Santa Monica Boulevard, traditionally large and festive, was sharply reduced by the inclement weather. But as the rain let up Saturday night, several hundred colorfully costumed people took to the streets ranging in costumes from the Pope to different brands of candy.
Ironically, for the first time, West Hollywood officials closed off a four-block section of the boulevard anticipating a big crowd which didn't quite materialize.
Among the dominant costumes were transvestite themes in a community where the population is about one-third gay. "This is the one night you can dress up as a girl and not get beat up," said a resident.
Janice Roth, a meteorologist for WeatherData, which provides forecasts for The Times, said the system that brought dark skies to Southern California will move slowly to the east and taper off this afternoon.
"Maybe there'll be a few morning showers, but that will be it for awhile," Roth said.
More rain may be on the way, however. "There'll be a chance of showers late Tuesday night," she said, because a low-pressure system may be moving into the Los Angeles area from the southwest.
Saturday's high in Los Angeles was 65 degrees, and a high in the upper 60s was predicted today. The rain brought the season total to 2.08 inches, well above the normal rainfall of .6 inches, but not as wet as last year at this time.
Rain pelted much of the West Coast, bringing up to two inches of badly need moisture to the mountains and light rainfall to the unusually parched Pacific Northwest, "but not nearly enough to end their drought," Roth said.
The California Highway Patrol attributed at least two fatal traffic accidents to the heavy rains.
A collision on the rain-slick Sierra Highway in Newhall killed a 15-year-old boy and injured five others, including a star high school distance runner, authorities said.
Track Stars Injured
Keith Cooper was killed when the car he was riding in with his two brothers began hydroplaning and struck an oncoming car carrying three teen-age girls, CHP dispatcher Kay Burdick said. Two of the girls were Saugus High School track and cross-country runners Heather Scobie, 17, and Shana Bird, 16, both listed in critical condition. Scobie placed second in the 1985 and 1986 Southern Section 3-A cross-country championships.
In a second fatality handled by the CHP, an Agua Dulce man was killed and a Pacoima man was injured in a head-on collision on Pearblossom Highway near Palmdale, the CHP reported.
Robert Wells, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene. Clarence Rachel, 30, was listed in critical condition at Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center with broken arms and legs and a lacerated liver, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Several people were injured in a series of accidents on the southbound Santa Ana Freeway, beginning when a Los Angeles County sheriff's patrol car was rear-ended in the City of Commerce about 7:30 a.m.
Freeway Lane Blocked
Eight cars were involved in the first accident, causing a backup of traffic that led to a second crash when a trucker was unable to slow down and his vehicle jackknifed, temporarily blocking two freeway lanes and injuring the driver, fire officials said.
Half an hour later, six cars collided on the same stretch of freeway, injuring six people, Morgan said.
In West Hollywood, police blamed the rain on an accident that occurred when a restaurant parking valet lost control of a diner's car and plowed into the living room wall of a condominium on North Harper Avenue. No one was inside the condo at the time and there were no injuries, police said.
In Malibu and the San Fernando Valley, many motorists reported flooded streets and traffic tie-ups.
California Highway Patrol Officer Monty Keifer urged drivers to slow down, saying there are "still a lot of people banging up their cars."