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Rain Causes Accidents but No Flooding or Mudslides


Daylong showers dropped more than an inch of rain in Ojai and nearly an inch on other parts of Ventura County on Tuesday, but the latest downpour caused none of the flooding, mudslides or power outages that have crippled the region in previous storms.

There is a 50% chance of rain continuing through noon today, according to the National Weather Service. Fog is predicted in Ventura and temperatures are expected to dip into the low 40s throughout the county. Today's highs should reach the upper 50s to low 60s.

"It's just another winter-type storm, but this one is cooler than most because more cold air traveled south," said meteorologist Vladimir Ryshko.

The hardest hit was Ojai, where 1.06 inches of rain fell, followed by Matilija Dam and Santa Paula, where more than nine-tenths of an inch of rain was reported by 8 p.m. The Ventura County Government Center received more than half an inch and two-thirds of an inch fell in Thousand Oaks.

There was a heavy snow warning Tuesday for elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 feet, which includes the Mt. Pinos recreation area west of Frazier Park, said weather specialist Bruce Rockwell.

There was an urban and small-stream flood advisory in effect between 4:30 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Rockwell said. Other than the snow warning, no wind, surf or rain advisories were anticipated today.

A marine weather statement issued Tuesday warned of unstable air masses over all waters between Santa Barbara and Mexico, with waterspouts possible, Ryshko said. That warning is expected to end at noon.

Rain contributed to a handful of fender-benders, the most serious being a car that rolled over on the rain-slicked northbound lanes of the Ventura Freeway just north of downtown Ventura at 2:55 p.m., authorities said.

Tarzana resident Kelly Lesser, 22, was exceeding the speed limit in pouring rain when she lost control of her four-door Dodge Intrepid, ran off the east side of the road and rolled several times, said Officer Jeff Holt of the California Highway Patrol.

An off-duty paramedic found Lesser's silver-colored car on its roof with Lesser struggling to exit through a rear window. Firefighters were able to remove her without much difficulty, Holt said.

Lesser was taken by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura where she was treated for back pain and face lacerations and released, according to a nursing supervisor.

"She was real lucky," Holt said. "Due to the rain, she hydroplaned right off the road."

The crash caused some minor slowing but no traffic backups.

About 30 minutes later, a similar incident occurred on the westbound lanes of California 126 near Main Street. A small pickup carrying two men was found upside-down and protruding from a bush on the side of the roadway, according to CHP Officer Dave Cockrill.

Witnesses said the truck's occupants looked pale and seemed to be in shock.

A Southern California Edison spokesman reported no outages, and the Ventura County Flood Control District said the county's creeks and channels had not reached capacity by early evening. But representatives of both agencies said they were waiting to see what problems the overnight rain might cause.

"There's always a chance with thunderstorms there will be a small problem area," said Robin Jester, an engineer for the flood control district.

Caltrans spokeswoman Judy Reynolds said California 33 remained open with a single lane in each direction. The four-lane road was undergoing massive repairs after rock slides from last month's El Nino-driven storms.

Times staff writer Hilary E. MacGregor contributed to this story.


County Rainfall

Here are rainfall figures from the Ventura County Flood Control Department for the 24-hour period ending at 9 p.m. Tuesday . Oct. 1 is the beginning of the official rain year.


Rainfall Rainfall Normal rainfall Location last 24 hours since Oct. 1 to date Camarillo 0.43 30.77 11.94 Casitas Dam 0.63 52.88 20.70 Casitas Rec. 0.83 51.05 20.93 Center Fillmore 0.43 38.47 16.89 Matilija Dam 0.94 54.91 23.57 Moorpark 0.55 31.16 13.00 Ojai 1.06 42.64 18.84 Oxnard 0.63 33.85 12.91 Piru 0.43 33.90 15.20 Port Hueneme 0.47 30.64 12.47 Santa Paula 0.91 36.74 15.83 Simi Valley 0.47 33.03 12.72 Thousand Oaks 0.67 29.55 13.56 Ventura Govt. 0.55 38.40 14.40 Center 0.55 38.40 14.40


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