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Ventura County

Storm Makes a Splash Statistically

November 10, 2002|Holly J. Wolcott | Times Staff Writer

The powerful Pacific storm that ended Ventura County's mini-drought cleared out late Saturday after dropping so much precipitation that the Government Center in Ventura recorded one-third of its average annual rainfall.

As of 6 p.m. Saturday, a total of 5 inches of rain had fallen at the Government Center since the storm began Thursday afternoon. The average seasonal total at that location, according to the Ventura County Flood Control District, is about 15 inches.

Other storm totals include 6.5 inches of rain in Ojai, 4.8 inches in Oxnard and approximately 4.5 inches in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. By early Saturday evening, daylong showers had turned to drizzle and the skyline along the coast was blue and pink.

"This thing was really strong, because you had a lot of dynamics at play," said Bill Hoffer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Contributing to the storm's punch were a strong jet stream, a moisture plume and a slowing when it reached the coastline Thursday.

When the showers began, forecasters had predicted a total of about 2 inches of rain. Instead, the storm brought the heaviest downpour in the county since the 1998 floods.

Hoffer expects partly cloudy skies today, with winds of 15 to 25 mph. High temperatures will be in the mid-60s, and lows along the coast could dip into the upper 40s. Monday, Veterans Day, is expected to be sunny and warm with highs in the high 70s to low 80s.

While the brunt of the storm slammed the county Friday, dropping 2 to 4 inches of rain in most areas, Saturday's totals were smaller. Between half an inch and 1 1/2 inches of rain were recorded throughout the county.

The California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies reported about three dozen vehicle accidents. One incident early Saturday resulted in serious injuries, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

At about 3 a.m., Anthony Mario DeMatteo, 23, of Newbury Park lost control of his 2002 Volvo station wagon on Lynn Road, east of Felton Street, in Newbury Park, and it slammed into both a tree and a concrete block wall.

DeMatteo remained in serious condition Saturday at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. Authorities said speed and a slick roadway contributed to the crash.

No other major incidents were reported, but sheriff's deputies said the pounding rain had triggered dozens of car and business alarms. Authorities also said there was no major street flooding and that traffic on the Ventura Freeway -- which came to a standstill Friday when instability was detected near the Santa Clara River bridge -- had been running smoothly.

Environmental health officials reminded residents that runoff can bring harmful bacteria to beach water and that they shouldn't go into the ocean or streams until Monday. That warning didn't stop several surfers from attacking 8- to 10-foot swells that surfaced Saturday.

By Saturday evening, the surf had calmed and forecasters were calling only for 3- to 5-foot breakers today. For those considering a holiday trip, Hoffer said snowfall levels could be as low as 4,500 feet today.

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