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Residents prepare for massive storm

January 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Residents are preparing for the storm, many of them sandbagging around their homes. Crews are also on alert. In Malibu, the Forest Service is working quickly trying to avoid mudslides in areas burned by recent fires.Piles of sandbags are being made to residents at firehouses in Malibu. Fire officials are saying don't wait -- make your preparations before the storms hit. Sandbags are one of the best ways homeowners can prepare and protect their property.

The storms headed to the region could slam the Southland with more rain than we've seen in three years. That could have a devastating impact on areas still recovering from wildfires back in October that stripped vegetation from the mountain canyons, making them prone to mudslides and flooding. In Malibu, crews are placing tarps and sandbags to protect barren land.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is taking this seriously -- it will have additional crews standing by to restore power if the storm knocks down power lines or poles.

Residents are also sandbagging in Orange County, and the U.S. Forest Service is spreading hydromulch on burned areas, to keep the fragile soil in place.

"If we get what we have predicted, four or five inches of rain, that's going to provide us with some real challenges out there," said Battalion Chief Anthony Williams of the L.A. County Fire Department.

"I went to Trader Joes and stocked up, because when you get stuck up these canyons in a mudslide, you just can't go, so you better have some food," said Malibu resident Geraldine Gilliland. "I don't know what going to happen. There's nothing to hold the hillsides up."

In addition to the rain, the storms could bring wind gusts up anywhere from 20 to 60 mph in some areas.


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