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Rain causes flooding on local streets

January 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
From serious flooding to dangerous mudslides, the toll is mounting as yet another fierce winter storm sweeps over Southern California. The powerful storm system continues to slam the Southland, delivering rain, hail, snow, and even a tornado.A street in the Hancock Park district of Los Angeles was turned into a virtual lake early Friday morning. Residents say the flooding started when the heavy rain began.

The Department of Public Works brought in a very large pump truck to try and remove some of the water Friday. Residents say the street is a trouble spot for flooding.

"It is a lovely lake, it is another lovely resort. We have to turn it into a money market opportunity here. It is a resort out here and you can bring the kids and your rafts," said Germiles Briggs, Hancock Park resident.

Germiles Briggs was not kidding. His neighbor launched a blow up raft onto the lake with a gag photograph in mind.

"I've always fantasized about putting a boat out there for the heck of it," said Ron Balue, a Hancock Park resident. "And on top of that, I try to come up with unique Christmas cards and I figure this would make a unique picture for the front of my Christmas card next year."

Waist deep in water with Mother Nature adding more by the minute, workers tried to clear the debris backing up the drains on Rossmore Ave. in Hancock Park. Two drivers who tried to cross the flooded roadway early Friday morning ended up trapped by the quickly rising water.

"The Fire Department came and rescued him," said Jim Zaferis, a Hancock Park resident. "And you know, it was sad, we were talking to him. He was kind of disoriented and chilled to the bone because he had to wade through the hip-high water to get out."

The drivers escaped without any serious injuries, but their cars weren't so lucky.

Residents say this happens every time there's a heavy rainfall. There's too much runoff too fast, which quickly overwhelms the system.

"It's been happening since last night," said Elmer Salgado, a Hancock Park resident. "And what it is, all the debris in the streets gets caught in the two drains, the two main drains that we have down here and that's where all the water starts just piling here."

The wet winter storm has been causing havoc all across the area. The heavy rain brought a massive tree limb crashing down on to a pickup in Arleta.

The morning commute came to a standstill as numerous accidents filled the freeways.

In the San Fernando Valley, flooding forced officials to shut down the Sepulveda Basin. On Coldwater Canyon, drivers were forced to dodge boulders as the rain caused several minor rockslides.

It's been a very dirty, cold, and wet day for clean crews. Residents know there is more rain on the way and they expect the road to fill up once again.

Eyewitness News reporters Gene Gleeson and Leanne Suter contributed to this report.


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