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Countywide : Rain Puts Traffic on the Skids

November 04, 1994|DEBBIE KONG

A sudden, brief downpour in South County early Thursday triggered several accidents and signaled the first showers of autumn, with temperatures remaining cool and crisp.

The weekend forecast, however, calls for warmer temperatures, with just a slight chance of rain Sunday night.

"This weekend there will be a little bit of a warm-up in most areas, from the mid-60s to the lower 70s. It will be mostly sunny, maybe a little breezy, with patchy fog near the coast," said Curtis Brack, a meteorologist with WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.

Thursday's rain-related accidents occurred in San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente between 6 and 7:45 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. Only one minor injury was reported.

"There was a flurry of rain and that usually stimulates people to crash because they don't slow down," said CHP Officer Gary Alfonzo. "They are usually driving too fast and they hydroplane and lose control of the car."

In Lake Forest, drizzle was reported at 1 a.m. and light rain showers at about 3 a.m., according to the El Toro Weather Center. Rain there tied up commuter traffic at the El Toro Y later in the morning.

"The showers were mainly due to a cold front passing rapidly through Southern California," Brack said. "It was igniting isolated showers along and just behind it as it moved southward. It moved along pretty fast, in less than six hours."

The cold front brought colder-than-average temperatures. For instance, the temperatures for Santa Ana on Nov. 3, 1993, were 77 during the day and 53 at night. Thursday's high was only 67 and the low was also 53. Winds were measured at about 15 to 25 m.p.h., according to the National Weather Service.

But by next week, forecasters expect another cold front, which will cool temperatures.

"This was our first decent autumn storm brushing through the Southland. There is another one that may be coming through late Sunday or Monday," said James Murakami, a staff member in the UCLA department of atmospheric sciences.

San Clemente lifeguard Richard Chew said Thursday's beach weather was windy, with the water temperature about 61 degrees, a drop from the summer's peak temperature of 81 degrees.

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