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The Rain Should Be Over -- for Now

April 06, 2006|Carla Hall | Times Staff Writer

If the weather forecasters were right, this paper you're reading should be dry because the recent rains are over -- at least for the next week.

Yes, the area got wet again Wednesday -- a quarter of an inch fell in downtown Los Angeles -- snarling traffic, causing more collisions than usual and necessitating at least one swift-water rescue, of a woman marooned on a flooded road in San Bernardino County. But the partly sunny skies that returned to much of the region Wednesday afternoon should stick around for a while.

"We're going to have nice, dry weather [today] and Friday and a warm-up on Friday," said Bonnie Bartling, a specialist with the National Weather Service's forecast office in Oxnard. She said there were only "weak possibilities" of rain for the next seven days, rating the likelihood of precipitation over the weekend at 20% and the chances early next week at 30%.

Bartling also confirmed what many Angelenos -- who tend to treat the rain like cats mortified that their fur will get damp -- had suspected: It's been rainier later into the spring this year.

"Last year was rainier, but this April is rainier than last April," she said.

As of Wednesday, downtown Los Angeles had had 1.66 inches of rain this month. But the month was only five days old. Last year, the city had just a tad over an inch of rain in the entire month of April.

That said, it's not out of the norm to have rain in April in Los Angeles. "People forget that the rainy season goes through April 30," Bartling said. It starts in the beginning of October. January and February usually get the brunt of the rainfall.

"But we have had years where we've had late April storms," she said. For instance, that inch or so of rain that fell last April? It virtually all fell on one day, April 28.

"We really had a pretty mild winter" this year, "and then March was extremely cold," Bartling said.

In terms of yearly rainfall, the region remains a little below the 30-year normal of 14.21 inches at this point in the weather year, which is measured from July through June. Los Angeles has had 12.10 inches to date. Last year was an extraordinarily wet weather year, with 36.01 inches of rain having been dumped on Los Angeles by this point.

On Wednesday, the California Highway Patrol logged 334 collisions in L.A. County, none of them fatal, on freeways and streets in unincorporated areas, according to CHP Public Information Officer Patrick Kimball. That's up from 197 the previous Wednesday, when it was dry.

In the San Bernardino County community of Lytle Creek, a woman believed to be a transient was stranded after the water level rose as she slept in a tent, county Fire Department spokesperson Tracy Martinez said. A passerby on Lytle Creek Road noticed the woman's frantic waves shortly before noon and called authorities.

Fire Department personnel fastened the woman to a harness and safety vest and transported her across the water. She was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center as a precaution.

*

Times staff writer Jonathan Abrams contributed to this report.

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