A thunderous Pacific storm dumped the first significant rainfall of the season Monday on Los Angeles, doubling the number of highway crashes, snarling afternoon commutes and causing mudslides that closed the Grapevine and a canyon road in Burbank. Coming earlier than usual in the season, the cool storm pounded many communities with marble-size chunks of hail and poured more than an inch of lightning-streaked rain over the Southland. Three people were killed in local traffic crashes in the early morning hours, though the California Highway Patrol could not say for certain whether rain played a factor. The National Weather Service predicted a 60 percent chance of rain for today and clear skies for the rest of the week. In Glendale, the driver of a gasoline tanker was killed just before 2 a.m. Monday in a fiery crash that closed portions of the rain-slick Golden State Freeway into Monday evening, officials said. The truck, carrying 8,900 gallons of gas, hit the center divider on northbound Interstate 5, near the 134 Freeway, and burst into flames, officials said. About 5:15 a.m., two people were killed on the eastbound Ronald Reagan Freeway in the Mission Hills area. Three eastbound lanes were closed for three hours while an investigation continued. And in the Newhall Pass, nine vehicles collided on the transition from the southbound Antelope Valley Freeway to the southbound Golden State Freeway just after 9 a.m., closing some Metrolink tracks because of debris, CHP officials said. A truck involved in the collision crashed part of the way through a guardrail. “We find that a majority of people don’t realize that there is a lot of oil on the lanes, and when it rains it is advised to drive 35 mph, even though it says 65 mph,” said CHP spokesman Joe Zizi. “We would like to do more enforcement, but we’re out there at all the accidents. We would like people to get to work in one piece.” Los Angeles Police Department officers were placed on tactical alert, and firefighters watched recently burned hillsides for falling mud and debris. Flash flood alerts were issued for a number of areas by the National Weather Service. The rain caused heavy mudslides in Burbank on a charred area of Sunset Canyon along Country Club Drive, which burned in a brush fire earlier this month. Burbank firefighters cleared mud from the twisting drive but closed it to traffic, affecting some 150 residents. “If they’re in, they’re staying in and if they’re out they can’t get in now,” said Burbank Fire Marshal Dave Starr. “If we get more rain, then they won’t be able to get in at all.” In Glendale, officials closed Camino San Rafael from Calle Canta to Emerald Isle Drive out of fear that the rain had made the road too unstable. The rainfall was expected to provide some relief to parched hillside brush, but officials said fire danger was still a concern. “It will reduce the fire danger some … but you have to remember that the brush will dry out real fast, especially as humidity drops,” said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Ron Meyer. Meanwhile, some area roofing companies were still catching up with work postponed from last season’s near record-breaking rainfall. Calling for roof work in October used to be normal. But after last year’s rainfall and this year’s early start, some roofers advised to book work far in advance. “I think the people who are calling now are in trouble,” said Peter Borawski, president of A-1 All American Roofing Co. “The industry is seeing an eight- to 10-week wait. Those who have small repairs should invest in a high-quality tarp if it looks like it’s going to be two to three months that the roof is going to get done.” Staff Writers Alex Dobuzinskis and Jason Kandel contributed to this story. Susan Abram, (818) 713-3664 [email protected] Rainy day driving tips Slow down. Driving fast on wet pavement could cause you to hydroplane and lose control. Keep your distance. A car needs two to three times the distance for stopping on wet pavement. If your car skids, apply steady, firm pressure on brakes and steer in the direction your car is sliding. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply a very steady and firmer pressure. Don’t pump your brakes. Drive in the center lanes, where water is less likely to accumulate. Avoid eating, drinking, talking on the cell phone and engaging in other distractions. Turn on your headlights, even in the daytime. Check traffic reports ahead of time on the TV, radio or the Internet. Before the next rainfall, check and make sure your tires have adequate tread and windshield wipers are working properly. Source: Automobile Club of Southern California160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “What makes this puppy so energetic is it’s born in the Gulf of Alaska,” said Bill Hoffer, spokesman for the National Weather Service. “It’s bringing in colder temperatures from where it came from and heading into a warm air mass. It’s a little earlier than usual.” The storm’s intensity created spectacular lightning storms across the San Fernando Valley, Hoffer said, with bright bolts appearing to stab the ground from clouds high above. Los Angeles County fire officials said they received scattered reports of small fires caused by lightning, but none that required significant effort to extinguish. Downpours caused scattered power outages, temporarily knocking out service to up to 140,000 people. The California Highway Patrol reported 155 traffic collisions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., compared with 77 for the same period last week. Interstate 5 was closed in both directions in the Grapevine section of Tejon Pass about 65 miles north of Los Angeles because of mudslides and up to four feet of standing water on parts of the road. Northbound traffic was backed up in Castaic and southbound traffic was being diverted onto route 138 toward Lancaster.