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Man rescued from storm runoff after being swept 2.5 miles down Pacoima Wash

A 23-year-old homeless person who was swept up by fast-flowing storm runoff into the concrete-lined Pacoima Wash was rescued from the flood channel Tuesday morning, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The man, who was described as “hypothermic and not very communicative” after being rescued from 10 feet of water at a speed of 8 to 10 mph, had been transported 4 miles from San Fernando to Pacoima, said Brian Humphreys, a spokesman for the LAFD . He fell into the water near Foothill Boulevard and was rescued near Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

More than 100 firefighters were deployed in the rescue effort, Humphreys said.

The man was admitted to hospital in “fair condition” for treatment of hypothermia and abrasions to his hands, the LAFD said.

Bystanders did the right thing by alerting authorities and staying out of the dangerous waters, Humphreys said, adding that “often people are trying to save and they fall victim.”

After historic winter storms dumped several feet of snow on California’s mountains in recent weeks, another atmospheric river forecast set to hit the state this week has raised major concerns about flooding and structural damage.

Warm rain is expected to fall on top of the state’s near-record snowpack, which could cause the snow to melt too quickly and cause major runoff problems at lower elevations.