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Year’s First Big Downpour Causes Deadly Accidents, Flooding

February 21, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Two school buses and a commuter bus collided today on a rain-slippery freeway, injuring eight teen-agers, during the region’s first big downpour of the year.

None of the injuries appeared to be serious, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Ernie Garcia said.

``It’s a rear-end crash that’s typical in this type of weather,″ Garcia said.

The speed of the buses at the time of the crash on the Hollywood Freeway wasn’t known. Schools spokesman Leo Wozniak said officials didn’t immediately know how many students were on the buses.

The rain began Tuesday, dumping more than 2 inches that led to flooding, evacuations and two traffic deaths. An additional 4 inches was possible today as part of a Pacific Ocean storm spinning tropical moisture from Hawaii.

It was the city’s second weather-related bus accident in two days. Two school buses carrying nearly 50 students each collided Tuesday afternoon, injuring one child and one driver.

The hundreds of traffic accidents during Tuesday’s heavy rain included one chain reaction on the Golden State Freeway that wrecked a vehicle driven by Barry Manilow. He was not injured.

Two traffic deaths were blamed on the weather Tuesday.

Several houses and apartment complexes were evacuated because of flooding in La Habra, and some roofs in La Palma and La Mirada collapsed under the weight of water. Long Beach _ which had 2.2 inches of rain _ had knee-deep water in low-lying areas.

Flash flood watches were posted along a 250-mile span from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.

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