Storm brings wind, rain and snow to Southern California

December 24, 2019 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A blustery storm brought scattered flooding and traffic accidents to Southern California roads on Monday while snow fell in the mountains.

Rainfall was moderate to locally heavy, the National Weather Service said.

In Imperial County, five people were rescued from a storm drain while trying to cross into the United States from Mexico illegally, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

A rescue team from San Diego was called to help the three men and two women in the flooded drainage tube, where the water was so high that only their heads were visible, authorities said. They were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

A transient was rescued with minor injuries after being trapped for 30 minutes when a huge tree fell in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. The Fire Department noted there was wind and rain in the area but could not say whether the tree toppled because of the storm. The tree also damaged a residential building and utility wires.

Winter weather advisories were issued for the interior mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, where a foot more of snow was expected at elevations above 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) and lesser amounts down to 5,000 feet (1,524 meters).

Additional snow accumulations were expected through the day in the Sierra Nevada.

A dense fog advisory was in effect through late morning in the Sacramento Valley and the northern San Joaquin Valley.

The California Department of Transportation warned holiday travelers to be cautious driving through the so-called tule fog, which occurs in the region through winter and early spring when rain saturates the soil and then there is rapid nighttime cooling.

The next round of stormy weather was predicted to begin late Tuesday in Northern California and on Wednesday in Southern California, where snow could accumulate in the mountain passes, potentially bringing problems for travelers.