PHELAN (CBSLA.com) — Heavy downpour pummeled the high desert and Antelope Valley, while Venice and Newport beaches experienced dangerous rip currents and scorching heat as wild weather struck Southern California.
In the Phelan area, pop-up storms whipped through the area Wednesday, leaving a muddy mess.
Flash flooding and lightning was also prevalent in the area, with rain moving through and flooding Highway 18 in Lucerne Valley, according to the California Highway Patrol.
No injuries were reported on the thoroughfare, but Caltrans crews were called to clear the road.
“I was in Rite Aid and I came out and I was gonna go to Staters [Bros.], but it was raining so hard that I said, ‘Oh, I gotta get home,’ ‘cause it was flooding the streets, ” said Pam Barrett, a Pinon Hills resident.
A flood advisory was issued for parts of the high desert, but even after the rain fell, ominous clouds hung in the area.
“All of a sudden, it got really dark, and it was thundering and raining everywhere. It was pretty crazy,” said Taylor Yager, a Phelan resident.
In the Lake Los Angeles area along Palmdale Boulevard, street flooding was visible, and many residents were caught off-guard.
“I couldn’t believe how much water there is. It’s crazy,” said George Megas, who explained that the sudden rush of mud and water gave him a rush of adrenaline.
“Just doing what it wanted with the car, slipping sideways, and just taking over control,” he said of the heavy downpour.
Many roads in northern Los Angeles County remain closed because of flooding, but there were no reports of major property damage. A threat of thunderstorms is expected to remain in effect over the next couple of days.
In the Venice Beach area, rip currents placed beach-goers in danger, prompting another day of rescues. Lifeguards said they’ve had the most rescues in Manhattan Beach, as well as Venice Beach on Wednesday.
“When we first got here, the rescue boat was out here and the lifeguards were out there getting two kids out of there telling them to come this way because they went out too far,” said Ivon Camarena, a swimmer.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County lifeguards rescued 400 swimmers, including 18 people in a blitz rescue at Venice Beach. One lifeguard called the conditions at the beach this week “the perfect storm.”
“We have large surf, large rip currents, and all the people want to go in the water with warm water,” said Capt. Kenichi Haskett, an LA County lifeguard. “The water is 72, 73 [degrees].”
Lifeguards advised beach-goers to stay close to lifeguard towers and near the shore. The rip currents were expected to stick around for the remainder of the workweek, authorities said. For those caught in a current, lifeguards advised against swimming against it.
Newport Beach also saw dangerous rip currents, where a handful of rescues took place, including that of a swimmer in distress just south of the pier.
“What’s going on when those swimmers were in distress is they were in a rip current. That current will pull them out to sea,” said Brandon Hoddling, a Newport Beach lifeguard.
The entire Orange County coastline has been warned of the rip currents, and a hazardous-beach warning for both Orange County and San Diego County was expected to expire Wednesday evening.
The large waves at south-facing beaches is the result of a storm in New Zealand.
“To be honest, today, I feel like the water wasn’t as strong as it was,” Angelo Ignacio, another surfer, said in comparing conditions from a couple of weeks ago.
The wild weather was also expected to bring increased humidity and high temperatures through next week, but cooling centers have not been opened, reported KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.
Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County, says an order hasn’t been issued to open up the centers.
“But if it does get to the temperatures where we think that it’s an issue, we will,” he told the radio station.
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