Evacuations lifted for SoCal foothill communities
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. – Authorities on Saturday lifted evacuation orders for nearly 200 homes in Los Angeles-area foothill communties after overnight rains ended without triggering mudslides.
Some residents in the La Canada Flintridge area will have to show identification in order to return to their homes, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.
Two weeks after a wall of mud and debris damaged dozens of homes on hillsides stripped bare by wildfire, county officials took no chances in ordering the early evacuation Friday of 189 homes in La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge.
Rain arrived in the Los Angeles area late Friday but passed through quickly, dropping less than a half-inch of rain and mostly skirting the burn area.
No flood warnings had been issued, but scattered showers were possible Saturday. Forecasters also said another storm was expected Sunday evening.
“Of the 189 homes ordered evacuated, 95 refused, so we had about a 50 percent compliance rate,” Nishida said.
A similar mild storm was forecast two weeks ago, when mudflows damaged 43 homes and 25 vehicles.
Ron Nakawatase, 62, was among those stuck in their homes when the early morning slide hit Feb. 6. Nakawatase watched neighbors cars float by his house and couldn’t leave until later in the day.
Many residents criticized county officials for not issuing evacuation orders before the slide as the ferocity of the storm exceeded forecasts, but Nakawatase disagreed.
“It’s just an act of nature, an act of God, so what could they do?” he said.
County officials issued warnings Friday and knocked on doors early for the new storm.
“That one time they didn’t call it was a disaster,” said homeowner Jack Fowlie. “So now it’s the smart thing to do.”