Monday Rains Cause Freeway Crashes, Power Outages

January 05, 2006|By Jennifer Berry

Several La Cañada Flintridge residents started the new year with a power interruption due to Monday's heavy rains and blustering winds.

"We did have several problems in La Cañada yesterday related to trees and tree limbs," Mark Olson, region manager for Southern California Edison, said Tuesday. Southern California Edison provides electricity to La Cañada streets, homes and businesses.

The storm caused extensive power interruptions throughout Southern California Edison's territory, which includes 4.6 million customers in 430 cities in Southern California, Central California and coastal regions.


"We've had more than half a million customers affected by power interruptions," said spokesperson Tom Boyd. He said 18,000 customers across the entire service area were without power Tuesday morning.

Because employees were focusing on restoring service to those without power, Olson said he did not know the scope of the outage in La Cañada except that power was fully restored in the city by about 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Two hillside failures from last year's rains on Foothill Boulevard near the YMCA and Inverness Drive in the Flintridge hills were not affected by Monday's rains, reported city employees.

"We didn't have any concerns. We put preventative measures, such as plastic, on the wall," said Ying Kwan, La Cañada Flintridge city engineer.

A retaining wall at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station that failed during last year's rains was not affected, said Sheriff's Station Watch Deputy Randall Forney. The wall, which fell onto the parking lot, is under repair.

"It didn't do a whole lot to us. I watched it all day yesterday and it didn't do anything," Forney said Tuesday.

The rain also didn't cause any accidents on La Cañada streets, said Sheriff's Station Traffic Sgt. Elsa Avila.

"Believe it or not, the citizens out here are much safer. They know they live on a hillside," she said. "In La Cañada we've noticed that a lot of people drive more safely because of the conditions."

She said Tuesday afternoon the most recent traffic accident was on Wednesday, Dec. 28, a day without rain.

"The main reason is because people listen and they know to stay indoors," she said. "If we had [accidents] they would have been on the freeways."

The California Highway Patrol responded to many freeway collisions caused by unsafe driving, said Officer Christian Cracraft.

"We had twice as many as normal," he said, adding the main cause is people driving too fast followed by unsafe maneuvers.

"Sometimes the safe speed is much lower than 65 [miles per hour,]" he said, adding there was one crash on Angeles Crest Highway that injured two but none others in the Crescenta Valley. The closest were on the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena, the Ventura (134) Freeway and the Golden State (5) Freeway.

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