Rare August rain Tuesday gave Southern Californians a reprieve from the dog days of summer and their first taste of precipitation in months, along with flash-flood warnings, power failures and snarled rush-hour traffic.
Police reported nearly twice as many traffic accidents during the Tuesday morning rush hour as they recorded a week ago, when it was dry and sunny.
There were no deaths or injuries early Tuesday on Southern California freeways, but 77 collisions were reported between 5 and 9 a.m., compared with 45 in the same period last Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol said.
CHP officers in Orange County reported a number of fender benders but nothing out of the ordinary, given the conditions.
Between 11 p.m. Monday and 5 a.m. Tuesday, there were eight traffic accidents in Orange County, none of them serious or involving injuries, dispatchers reported. From 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., the number of accidents rose to 29, Officer Katrina Lundgren said.
"It was in the average range," Lundgren said. "There just wasn't much of anything extra today--at least in our county. We don't generate as much activity as Los Angeles on a day-to-day basis."
Sunny skies are forecast for most of the county today after morning clouds and patchy fog burn off, with afternoon highs in the 70s to mid-80s. Showers are possible far inland.
Tuesday's precipitation was the first August rain in the region since 1990, National Weather Service spokesman Ray Tanabe said.
Tropical moisture that built up off Mexico moved into the Southland overnight Monday, dragging clouds and rain over Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties and as far north as Monterey, Weather Service meteorologists said.
Santa Ana recorded .01 inch of rain before dawn, as did Newport Beach. Fullerton received a trace amount, while San Juan Capistrano got even less, according to WeatherData Inc., which provides forecasts for The Times.
Most Los Angeles County communities got less than a quarter-inch of rain. About a third of an inch fell in the valleys and mountains, but communities along the coast mostly had just fog and drizzle.
Rain was a welcome relief for mail carrier Tony Garcia in Arleta, where recent temperatures have neared 100 degrees.
"This is our weather. This is what we pray for," he said.
But in Santa Monica, the weather dampened profits for businesses that cater to tourists. Although surfers were out Tuesday morning to catch 1- to 2-foot waves, the crowds that had lined the sand the day before stayed away.
"This is like a rainy day in the winter," said Dov Paz, manager at the beach-side hangout Perry's Cafe and Sports Rental. "I've got two customers, and there's one person on the bike path as far as the eye can see."
Despite the rain, public works officials said, there was no flooding reported in Los Angeles County's most sensitive areas, such as the foothills above Sierra Madre and Arcadia, which were scorched by brush fires in December.
Times staff writers Elise Gee and Stephanie Stassel contributed to this report.