LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two people and a dog were rescued Monday from a rain-swollen Southern California river as a severe late-season storm moved slowly through the state, bringing heavy downpours and snow.
A helicopter rescue team extracted the dog’s owner, a woman, from the Los Angeles River in the San Fernando Valley around 2:40 p.m. But the dog escaped and continued for more than an hour down the river, which runs through an inaccessible channel with high concrete walls for several kilometers.
At one point a Good Samaritan jumped into the raging river and grabbed the dog, but the animal also slipped away from him and the man had to be rescued himself.
The medium-to-large sized black and brown dog eventually reached shallower water, where he was able to walk, and an LA Fire Department crew on the ground pulled him to safety around 4 p.m. to cheers from bystanders .
“The bystander who went into the water earlier and required rescue was taken to hospital with dog bite injuries,” the fire department said in a statement. The dog’s owner did not require hospitalization, the statement said.
More than an inch (2.5 cm) of rain fell in parts of southern California, the National Weather Service said. The weather system marked a turnaround after an extremely dry winter that sparked calls for water conservation.
The storm hit the San Francisco Bay Area overnight and spread east and south.
Winter weather advisories have been issued for the Sierra Nevada, where 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of snow are expected to fall at elevations above 6,000 feet (1,829 meters), the National Weather Service said.
Mammoth Mountain Resort said the storm could bring some of the highest totals in quite a while.
“Mother Nature has returned to wintry weather and we couldn’t be happier,” the resort said on its website.
Winter storm warnings issued for the Southern California mountain ranges called for similar amounts of snowfall as well as up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) at higher elevations. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in east Los Angeles announced last week that they will remain open until April 16.
After two years of drought, California got off to a strong start with heavy rainfall in October and December 2021. Then January and February were historically dry, leaving the state’s snowpack well below normal.
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