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Rockslides strand vehicles on Angeles Crest

December 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The hillsides gave way on Saturday along the Angeles Crest Highway, stranding more than 100 cars. A 12 mile stretch of the highway is shut down from mile marker 27 to marker 39.Officials say that no injuries were reported and that was certainly good news because of the size of the boulders that came crashing down on the road.

Evidence of the powerful winter storm is easy to spot along Angeles Crest Highway as rocks and boulders line the busy highway.

Much of the Angeles National Forest was left blackened by the massive Station Fire and there was nothing to hold back the hillsides.

"The rainfall is now falling directly on exposed soil," Rich Phelps from the U.S. Forest Service said. "The soil is now saturated, it's going to start to run above ground and with that you'll start to see increased erosion as well as potential for landslide and debris flows."

Dozens of drivers learned just how quickly landslides can happen as three massive mudslides stranded more than one hundred vehicles along Angeles Crest Highway.

Some motorists walked out of the mess by foot, but other had to sit and wait as Caltrans worked throughout the day to clear the debris.

After several hours officials were finally able to escort every car down the mountain.

No injuries were reported, but the danger for more slides will continue as more rain in expected throughout Sunday morning.

"Overnight as the increase in the rain intensity, obviously the duration of the storm is an issue," Phelps said. "The biggest concern is for life and property in the foothills area."

Caltrans has shutdown Highway 2 indefinitely, and they do not know when it will reopen.


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