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Ventura County

Storm Dumps Rain, Snow--and Isn't Done Yet

Weather: Rescue crews respond to dozens of accidents. Showers expected again today, but precipitation totals still behind normal.

January 28, 2002|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A rare January dry spell ended Sunday as a cold, slow-moving storm from the Pacific Northwest pelted Ventura County with rain and created the usual traffic tangles on streets and freeways.

More showers are forecast for today, with clearing expected by Tuesday, said Bruce Rockwell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Highs along the coast will be in the mid-50s, with lows in the mid-40s, Rockwell said. Daytime highs inland will be about the same, but the lows will dip into the mid- to low 30s, he said.

By Tuesday, the snow level will drop to between 2,000 and 3,000 feet and up to 6 inches of new snow is expected at Mt. Pinos, Rockwell said.

Most areas of the county have received between 4 and 5 inches of rainfall since November, about 50% below normal totals for January.

"It's pretty dry for this time of year, but it's not unprecedented," Rockwell said. "We still have two to three months to go, so we could get back to normal with a couple of wet months."

The latest storm could dump up to an inch of rain inland and nearly half an inch along the coast, he said.

Slick driving conditions Sunday caused a traffic mess as rescue crews and police officers responded to dozens of collisions and fender benders.

About 11:50 a.m., a pickup truck heading north on Ventura Road near 9th Street in Oxnard crossed a center median and slammed into a southbound Ford Windstar minivan that was carrying three adults and two small children, police said. The truck flipped over.

Oxnard firefighters used equipment to free the occupants from both vehicles.

The driver of the pickup, Felicia McBride, 42, of Oxnard was reported in stable condition at Ventura County Medical Center with a broken femur and multiple cuts on her face and body, Oxnard Police Cmdr. Tom Chronister said.

A passenger in the minivan suffered a severe head injury and was undergoing surgery at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, Chronister said.

One other person remained hospitalized and three were treated for minor injuries and released.

Ventura Road was closed in both directions for about two hours, Chronister said. No one was cited in the accident, but the cause was still being investigated.

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