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A driver dies after his vehicle hydroplaned amid heavy rain in Los Angeles area


By Aya Elamroussi, CNN

(CNN) — A driver died in Los Angeles County early Friday after his vehicle hydroplaned and crashed before submerging in water from heavy rainfall in parts of Southern California.

The death occurred in the city of Carson as an atmospheric river delivered heavy rains and coastal flooding to portions of Southern California after wreaking havoc on some roadways.

The crash happened around 3:40 a.m. as the driver was heading south on Avalon Boulevard, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Roberto Catalan told CNN.

An investigation revealed the driver, described only as a man in his 30s, was driving around 70 to 75 mph when his vehicle hydroplaned, crashed into a concrete center divider before it submerged in the Dominguez Channel, Catalan said.

The storm system drenched parts of coastal Southern California with 1 to 5 inches of rain from early Wednesday to late Thursday, with some areas seeing more than 6 inches of rainfall. The deluge led to knee-deep floodwaters in some areas, road closures and an evacuation warning for communities in Ventura County just days before the holiday weekend.

Flood watches were in effect for various areas in Southern California and southern Arizona late Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

In nearby Ventura County, the coastal city of Oxnard’s downtown area flooded after a month’s worth of rain fell in a single hour on Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Los Angeles.

The weather service put into perspective the impact of 3.18 inches of rain falling in just one hour by noting, “The average rainfall for the entire month of December is 2.56 inches.”

The deluge affected at least 60 homes in Ventura County, where Oxnard and Port Hueneme bore the brunt of the storm, according to a county fire department spokesperson.

“Over 3 inches of rain per hour came down at the height of the storm. The roadways became flooded and vehicles became trapped in the roadway,” Ventura County Fire Department spokesperson Andy VanSciver said.

Floodwaters in some Ventura County areas reached 2 to 3 feet deep, VanSciver noted. The county’s fire department received 275 calls within five hours — a staggering uptick from its estimated 190 calls per day, VanSciver said.

The severe flooding led to officials in Ventura County to issue an evacuation warning for parts of the county, officials said Thursday.

In Santa Barbara, forceful rainfall overwhelmed some roadways, causing ramps to the area’s Highway 101 to close Thursday morning.

Meanwhile on the other side of the US, thousands on the East Coast dealt with the impacts of a deadly storm that brought heavy rain and damaging winds to parts of the Northeast earlier this week, flooding roadways and knocking out power for thousands as cold temperatures persisted.

As of midday Saturday, nearly 13,000 homes and businesses in Maine were still without power, according to the tracking website

At least eight storm-related deaths were reported across several states, with four of those deaths occurring in Maine, officials said. Two people who had been missing in the Maine town of Mexico after their vehicle was swept into rising floodwaters Monday were confirmed dead, police said in a statement Thursday.

CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford, Mary Gilbert, Cindy Von Quednow, Jillian Sykes contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN-Weather/Environment

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