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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | COUNTYWIDE

Cloudy Weather Puts Damper on Holiday Travels

September 07, 1998|PAMELA J. JOHNSON

The dreary weather appeared to keep people from traveling to their favorite recreational spots during the Labor Day weekend, with authorities reporting lighter traffic and fewer drunk drivers on local highways.

A blanket of fog over Newbury Park early Sunday also prevented county sheriff's officials from dispatching a helicopter to search for someone who, at around 3 a.m., burglarized a model home at 412 Fallbrook Ave.

"It was so foggy we couldn't send a helicopter," said Ed LeClair, a senior deputy with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. "The suspect, or suspects, ended up getting away."

By Sunday night, CHP officials had arrested 12 people countywide on suspicion of drunk driving during the holiday period, Sgt. Tony Viaropulous said. And by tonight, he expected substantially fewer arrests than last year's tally of 34.

A handful of minor accidents were reported--including a man who fell off his horse in Oak View on Sunday and was airlifted to a local hospital with shoulder and rib injuries--and there were no alcohol-related crashes as of Sunday night, Viaropulous said.

He attributed the decrease, in part, to beefed-up patrols. Up to 80% of the fleet of CHP officers are patrolling the streets and highways this extended weekend, he said.

"I'd also like to think people are learning," Viaropulous said, "and that people are being more conscientious."

The overcast weather is expected to continue throughout the county until Tuesday afternoon, said Bill Hoffer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Expect cloudy skies with fog and drizzles along the coast throughout the county today, with highs in the mid-70s in Ventura and up to 88 degrees in Ojai, Hoffer said. Hazy sunshine is predicted by midafternoon.

He said he expected sunny skies on Tuesday afternoon, with a high of 77 degrees in Ventura.

"It's a little bit seedy out there, but nothing to worry about," Hoffer said. "Hurricane Isis is long gone. This is normal weather for September."

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