An inclement weather system unleashed a couple inches of rain in the Santa Clarita Valley through Tuesday afternoon, but the rest of the week is looking clear, weather officials said Tuesday. Santa Clarita avoided any major damage or a flash flood, which residents were repeatedly warned about from emergency officials’ social media messages. One of the biggest direct impact to SCV commuters was probably for those heading to the San Fernando Valley on Tuesday, as a big rig tractor trailer lost its cargo while traveling on Interstate 5, which shut down on the 118 Freeway. There were also numerous minor crashes on the Highway 14 freeway, Interstate 5 and throughout Santa Clarita’s roadways. Sand Canyon Road was shut down at Placerita Canyon Road, but that was the only local closure, according to city officials. “Patience is the biggest thing — people just need to slow down a little bit,” said Sgt. Scott Shoemaker of the Traffic Unit for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “There’s not a vehicle code for patience.” There is, however, one for having not having your headlights on if the weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers, he said, which was another occasionally overlooked public safety law. He asked motorist to be mindful of road conditions, and be aware that motorists should adjust their attitudes toward speed limits and ETAs in rainy conditions. “(Drivers in the rain) need to obviously slow down a little bit — just because the speed limit says it’s safe to go 45 mph, doesn’t mean it’s safe to go 45, in the rain, in the dark,” he said. He also suggested motorists allow for significantly more space, or stopping time, between motorists. While the rain is expected to stop Wednesday, according to Ryan Kittell, weather forecaster with the National Weather Service, the cold weather could linger a little bit longer, as the county’s Department of Public Health issued an alert for the mountain areas for throughout Wednesday. The county issues such alerts when the temperatures are expected to dip to or below freezing levels. “Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during such cold snaps. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Interim Health Officer. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.” The cold weather, combined with one of the more intense flu seasons this year, has also prompted health officials to put out a relatively late-season reminder for residents to get their flu vaccinations. “Flu activity is elevated and is increasing throughout Los Angeles County, according to the news release from the Department of Public Health. “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) urges influenza (flu) vaccinations for everyone aged six months and older to protect public health during flu season.” Take precautions to protect yourself from the cold:
- Dress in layers of warm clothing if you plan to be outdoors.
- Protect extremities from the cold by wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, and socks.
- Offer to help those in your neighborhood with limited access to heat, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently.
- During peak cold times, if you don’t have a heater in your home, visit indoor public facilities such as shopping malls, libraries or senior centers.
- If you have pets, bring them indoors and do not leave them outside overnight.
- If you use an outdoor generator at home, place it at least 10 feet away from all doors and windows to avoid exhaust gases entering the home.
- Stoves, barbeques and ovens can produce a deadly gas known as carbon monoxide when used to heat a home. Never use these appliances in place of approved heaters such as electric, natural gas, or fireplaces.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to reduce the risk of poisoning.