No major problems from Southern California storm
LOS ANGELES – Few problems were reported as a result of rains in foothill communities below wildfire burn areas, but residents were being urged to stay away until after the storm passes, Los Angeles County authorities said.
About 200 homes in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta remained under evacuation orders Saturday morning over fears of possible mudslides, but some residents chose to sign waivers and stay behind, County Fire Inspector Frederic Stowers said.
A county spokeswoman said only about 20 percent of the residents contacted Friday night evacuated.
“The storm didn’t hit as hard as we expected,” Stowers said. “The rain was steady overnight but not as heavy as in the past, and the debris catch basins are doing their job right now.”
The basins, which collect mud and debris before it can flow into residential streets, were at about 85 percent capacity and holding steady, Stowers said.
The areas northeast of Los Angeles have been evacuated at least a half-dozen times this winter because of storm concerns, and a mudslide earlier this month damaged 43 homes in La Canada Flintridge.
Rain started falling in Los Angeles about 2 a.m. Saturday and was expected to continue until about noon, the National Weather Service said. About 1.5 inches fell in coastal and valley areas with up to 2.5 inches in the foothills.
La Crescenta resident Terry Dorwart, 66, left his home during the past three storms, but this time he stayed put.
“It’s getting very expensive (to leave),” Dorwart said. “I’ve got my shovel and my galoshes… I’ve got flood insurance, mud insurance… bring it on,” he said.
Six to 12 inches of snow and winds gusts to 50 mph were forecast in the mountains above 6,000 feet.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch throught Saturday evening for areas of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties that were in or near areas burned by wildfires.
Angeles Forest Highway, Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road were closed, even to residents, beginning Friday afternoon in areas of the San Gabriel Mountains burned by last year’s 250-square-mile Station fire.
There were reports of scattered road and freeway flooding across Los Angeles County.
During a storm earlier this month, mud, boulders and tree limbs clogged a debris basin designed to protect La Canada Flintridge and the overflow swept through town.
Since then, homes in the area have repeatedly been put on alert.