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Hoping for safe holiday in O.C. burn area

December 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
It's likely going to be a cold and rainy Christmas Eve, and more of the same on Christmas Day. In Yorba Linda, the burn areas will be on alert for mudslides overnight. As of Wednesday afternoon, no rain was falling in Yorba Linda, but just some chilly winter weather. Residents have done pretty much everything that they can do for the past number of weeks, putting out sandbags, putting white concrete barriers in place and also putting tarpaulins up on the hillside just to try to hold the earth in place, measures to try and protect their property.

Crews moved concrete barriers to the bottom of a steep slope in Yorba Linda. Other workers cleared away mud from the last storm to prepare for the next predicted rain. And homeowners in the burn areas try to have a normal Christmas Eve.

Yorba Linda resident Joyce Montforte plans to stay home even if it rains. "I probably won't sleep much tonight, though, because of the rain. I want to make sure everything's OK," she said. "Just nervous. I think we will be fine."

November's wildfires stripped the slopes of vegetation, making them more vulnerable to slides.

"The city will continue to notify residents of warnings of potential floodings, mudflows and landslides," said Mark Stowell, Yorba Linda Public Works. "And will encourage them to monitor the weather and make evacuation decisions based on their own welfare."

Starting Wednesday in Yorba Linda, residents have more ways to get information on possible evacuations, including the reverse-911 system.

"Residents will be notified of severe weather conditions via Alert O.C., the city's Web site, street signs such as the one behind me, and the Time Warner cable channel number 3," said Stowell.

With a flash-flood watch expected for Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, residents here try to enjoy the holiday.

"I want to make Christmas dinner," said Joyce Montforte. "I have a great big turkey thawing in my sink and I'm going to make it. My son is due to come over any time now."

At the bottom of San Antonio Road in Yorba Linda, shen it was raining heavy here the last time, it was completely full of water and fast-moving water, now just a gentle trickle. Residents here hope things remain this calm.


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