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Ventura County

Pacific Storm Drenches a Long Swath of California

November 09, 2002|From Times Staff Reports

Parts of California seemed to be getting all the rain that nature withheld the past year as a Pacific storm swept the state, drenching the Bay Area, ending fire closures in two Southland national forests and sending a car hydroplaning into people at an Orange County bus stop.

The storm, which brought the Los Angeles Basin its first significant rainfall in almost 10 months, spanned much of the West Coast.

Waves, some approaching 30 feet, crashed along the shore, the Sierra Nevada braced for up to 4 feet of snow, and power outages hit San Francisco and 98,000 Southern California Edison customers.

"The farther north you go, the heavier it is," said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.

At its most potent in Central and Northern California, the season's first storm poured up to 4 inches of rain on the San Luis Obispo County coast and pounded the San Francisco Bay Area with 6 inches.

In Huntington Beach, a driver lost control on rain-slick Beach Boulevard at 6:30 p.m. and crashed into a bus shelter.

One man was trapped briefly under the debris of the collapsed shelter and suffered a critical head injury. Three other people were hospitalized with less serious injuries.

The rainfall is expected to taper off today.

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