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Powerful storm system exits Southland

January 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
It's a cold and wet start to the work week. The latest storm is soaking Southland communities on Monday and making roads slippery.

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It's been an especially dry winter. Southern California has gotten rain only twice in the last five weeks.

In the San Gabriel Valley, last month's windstorm is still fresh in people's minds. Hundreds of trees were toppled, homes were red-tagged and cars crushed. Monday's storm was far less problematic, and many were happy to see it.

"We need it for our gardens, and I love this light misty rain because it doesn't run off, and it kind of soaks into the ground and makes it all better for our plants," said Susan Seidel of Pasadena.

The rain dampened the morning stroll along the stranded Manhattan Beach and created a wet commute across Los Angeles.

The California Highway Patrol said there were more than 275 car crashes from 5 a.m. until noon Monday. On a dry Monday, the CHP said about 86 wrecks occur on average.

It wasn't a downpour, but enough of a shower for residents to bring umbrellas out, although Victor Fernandez of Sherman Oaks said he didn't need an umbrella.

"I'm from the East Coast. This is a cake walk," he said.

In San Pedro, where an October landslide caused part of a road to collapse into the ocean, engineers were working to make sure the landscape didn't get any worse.

City workers were monitoring the White Point landslide that sent part of Paseo del Mar into the water. The rain Monday was gushing through crevices.

In a study issued Friday, consultants hired by the city reported that the main landslide mass will continue to move towards the ocean and likely accelerate during periods of heavy precipitation.

No homes were in danger. The slide is located in a nature preserve.

Engineers reported no significant new ground cracks between the fence and main landslide mass. Movement monitors were in place and power poles and drains have been relocated.

The storm is bringing not only rain, but high surf to the coast. A high surf advisory was in effect through 10 p.m. Monday. Waves could as high as 8 feet.

Waves over 10 feet high in Ventura forced the closure of the pier Sunday, and one surfer had to be rescued. The high surf also brought strong rip currents, so extra lifeguards were on duty at some beaches.

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Monday's temperatures were expected to reach the upper 50s for Los Angeles metro area, Orange County, the Inland Empire and valleys, and 30s for the local mountains.