SCV on guard as heavy storms drench highways, surface streets

Home owners examine the damage after a tree fell down in heavy rain, knocking down wires on Newhall Avenue and Dalbey Drive in Newhall on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

First responders led a widespread effort to keep pedestrians and motorists safe as they underwent torrential rain, heavy winds and swerving cars on the road on Saturday.

“The Newhall office responded to approximately 70 traffic collision 911 calls,” said Officer Josh Greengard, public information officer with the Newhall office of the California Highway Patrol. “From midnight this morning to 3 p.m.”

Collisions across Santa Clarita varied from property damage to major injury crashes up north, Greengard said, along with the fatal crash on the Interstate 5 just south of Vista Del Lago. The collision left 10 people injured and killed Fillmore Search and Rescue Team member Jeff Dye.

Under extreme weather conditions, a wind advisory was issued at 6:52 a.m. at the Interstate 5 and State Route 14 interchange, followed by a SigAlert at 9:45 p.m. Traffic hazards, such as a branch on the San Fernando Mission Boulevard off-ramp of Interstate 405, and roadway flooding, specifically at the I-5 and SR 14 interchange, kept CHP units busy throughout the day.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s social media accounts continuously updated SCV residents about roadway hazards to avoid across the city and in neighborhoods, including trees toppling on cars and even a trampoline on Haskell Canyon Road in Saugus. But deputies kept watch.

“The deputies kept themselves available for the potential for flooding or getting called to another station for assistance,” said Sgt. Scott Shoemaker, head of the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s Traffic Section.

Placerita Canyon Road experienced extreme flooding during Saturday’s heavy rain. Caleb Lunetta/The Signal

Though they had resources at the scene of the fatal collision on the I-5, along with Los Angeles County firefighters, as the weather died down going into the afternoon, everything was back to the normal routine, said Shoemaker. L.A. County Fire Capt. Ron Singleton said fire engines were ready to help communities all across the county.

“When the rain comes hard, we do everything we can to help out,” Singleton said.

Showers are expected across the Santa Clarita Valley going into Sunday with south winds reaching 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 50 mph on Saturday evening, followed by 35 mph on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Even then, the rain and wind adds to the workload, Greengard said.

“We are always busy no matter what the weather conditions are,” he said. “The rain and wind add an additional element to further our call volume.”

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